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Entry #104

Newgrounds rulz!

2013-03-23 19:31:32 by I-smel
Updated

Hey I'm in San Francisco this week. I'm at GDC! I'm also at the FlashGameSummit. I'm here to learn how to make video games. Before I attend a bunch of lectures on designing a storefront for cosmetic and non-essential in-app-purchases, I've bin wanting to lay out why Newgrounds is still my favourite site for a while. So here it is!

If you're in deep on stuff like review scores, and who gets scouted in the art portal, and who has the most fans: you probably hate this site. I read news posts, and there's a load of people who paint Newgrounds as the Big Bad because Sonic Goes To The Store gets on the front page. It's fine to hate that, because that does fucking suck. Mods are ego-wanking creeps, and your thing will get ten times as many hits if it has boobs in the thumbnail; we all use the Internet,you guys know what's up.
That's kind of the same everywhere, and it's more of a problem with the democratic voting system than it is with this site. Nudes and furry art is always more popular on deviantart and the biggest thing on YouTube is gangnam style and Let's Plays- So let's zoom out from that and look at what Newgrounds is doing that nobody else is.

Web games are stone cold fucking business. Stuff like Alien Hominid or Madness Interactive aren't relevant to the guys on FGL every day. Endless upgrade games designed around a shop screen, 30,000 gold coins in one hand, 50 Gems in the other, this is how you run a business like Newgrounds.
You shop around for a huge investment, hire people to run marketing and development, start doing video ads, optimise the home page to get more ads on eyeballs, get people in and to a new page as quickly as possible, sell NG COINS to use in games, put online poker and free MMOs on the front page... Newgrounds is a fucking laughing stock for NOT catching up on this stuff.
To people like Ebaumsworld, who sold for 17million, or Mochi, or Kong who sold to Gamstop for ten times more; it's crazy that the NG guys are holding onto this giant site that has nowhere near the money it could. Newgrounds fucking INVENTED the flash portal, newgrounds had user-generated content like 5 or 6 years before YouTube, but they've declined offers in the tens of millions over and over again!
WHY don't these guys get onboard?

It's cos they don't want video ads in every game. If newgrounds expanded to be a contender in this kind of market, they'd have to make that investment money back. D'you think hosting Let's Plays in the movies section would earn some money?
D'you think not having to host all that audio in the music section nobody uses would help? They could make the visual aesthetic of the site a LITTLE more welcoming, right? Websites aren't dark grey any more, guys, and developers are only like 0.001% of the traffic, so I don't see why they have to be on the front page... We could be using that space to let people connect with Facebook, really.

Anyway the point is that Newgrounds could be so much insanely bigger-- they have less staff than JUST Deviantart's community team right now- but they WANT to be the only people who let developers post news updates on the front page. They wanna be the only one of these sites to host games, movies, music and art, have a place for animators to meet voice actors and coders to meet artists; they wanna give Swivel out for free, they wanna have no unskippable ads, and wanna have THE BEST, most UNCOMPROMISED section of the Internet they can.
It's truly one in a million how many sites like this don't sell off and quit the next day to go make another start-up in Android games or social apps. Tom Fulp reading blogs like mine, and checking out some fuckin nobody's first flash movie every day is something that just doesn't happen. These guys GOT THERE FIRST to this giant disgusting gold rush, and Cathode Raybots is nothing more sinister than just a sweet game.

So that's in a nutshell my response to any of these weird trolls who still see Newgrounds as like a corrupt ruinner of everything. To me it feels like they're the only guys left. If you still feel like Newgrounds not having the audience of all these other sites is some hilarious pwnage thing, then hey man: Clash of Clans is free to download on iOS, it was a huge success, you should check it out.
Candy Crush Saga is a massive deal for King.com right now, Earn2Die has done great for notDoppler, I can recommend you a whole bunch of places to go for the next big thing.

I missed the Create A Newgrounds Ad Contest. I had a video compilation of stuff people post on their user blogs, like Jazza's tutorials or Evil-Dog's office tour, or ricepirate's monthly video update but it just felt so corny I didn't wanna work on it. I'd post what I had, but I'm in a hotel in San Fran waiting for some meeting to end, so all I can do is type words.
There are SO MANY homeless people here and it's very unsettling.


Comments

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TomFulpTomFulp

2013-03-26 17:51:49

Thanks for saying all that stuff.


MindChamberMindChamber

2013-03-25 19:32:32

both braid and super mario kart are worthwhile games, not every game designed to make money are good, or worthwile. The real problem is people are stupid, and they throw money at games that don't deserve them. Otherwise there wouldnt be parasites out there with this mentality in the first place.


MindChamberMindChamber

2013-03-25 16:17:08

BTW, before having the option to go to NG, I had a chance to work with a local startup in brooklyn.. I was really on the fence and I was honest to the employer about it. and he was honest with me.

" I want to hire you not because I think you could make great looking games, but because I have a feeling your games could make me money. I don't care about making deep profound games, I want to make money."

That's when I made my decision

I-smel responds:

There's a gigantic grey area between people who wanna make money and people who wanna make something worthwhile. The guys bringing in a million dollars a month usually think they ARE making the best game possible, and also vice-versa.
As much as us guys have jaded stereotype-vision at FGS, they have exactly the same thing looking at newgrounds, and we're kind of all off the mark. Navigating what people think, and what they mean, and what they wanna do has been a REALLY FRUSTRATING minefield, so I wish more people would be that straightforward like that either way.

I mean I'm not interested in making "deep, profound games" either. If it came down to making Braid or Super Mario Kart, it's pretty clear which side I'm on right now.
...anyway my main point is that people aren't usually pure good or evil, and the hard part is trying to parse what each individual person's intentions are.


BoMToonsBoMToons

2013-03-25 12:20:42

^This. Just this.^

I had very parallel thoughts at FGS. I feel like I have been living in a separate universe from these "stone cold business" guys. I think there are some things we (on this side of the aisle) could learn from them, but quite a bit of really soul-crushing sad trends and manipulations that should be steered clear of. There's a real struggle between making cash to live and keep going with your ideas and dreams and just becoming the next TOWER DEFENSE game. EVERY SUCCESSFUL GAME SHOWN AT FGS WAS A TOWER DEFENSE IN SOME WAY. (Kingdom Rush, Bloons TD, Con-Artist's MMO Zombie TD...)

I thought J1mp's talk was one of the most accessible and refreshing talks there. Yes, some stuff was obvious, but it was still thought provoking and pointed out lots of things that are fundamental, philosophical, true principles that most of the devs there need to be reminded of.

Overall, NG still feels the best for my personal sensibilities. So much of other sites is built around "optimizing and monetizing" and other buzz words that all, ultimately, mean "squeeze the well-established creative people for all they're worth and pocket it for ourselves." Tom's strength is his "micro love" of the emerging creative. He waters sprouts while others harvest trees. That's a BIG difference in fundamental philosophy.

Tom facilitates wings that help launch young birds out of the nest. How many NG developers have branched out to a point where they don't need NG anymore? It's fairly common around here, even in the voice acting/audio circles, not to mention movies (people livin' off dat YouTube money), and games of course. It's an unselfish model and Tom is fundamentally unselfish which is what makes the difference for me.

I enjoyed meeting you and your team. I think you're one of the deeper thinkers here and open about your thought processes. You're also one of the most talented and energetic. I'm glad you weren't sucked into the FGS-think (which kept tugging at me and made me ask "why aren't I making $450,000 in the first week from a TD game?")

I'm excited to see what you do and wish you all the success possible. I'll be trying frantically to keep pace :-D

I-smel responds:

Yeah, people like us are living under a rock when it comes to all this ARPU stuff, but I genuinely am attending lectures on monetizing free games.


ItsTheAshtrayItsTheAshtray

2013-03-25 06:11:09

Fucking nailed it. Tears in my eyes. Cheers, newgrounds...cheers. (I'm not British, just doing the cheers thing with gentle sarcasm. You know, fish n chips n shit dawg)

p.s. What's the worst thing about the homeless in SanFran? They dress better than me.


IcyknuckleIcyknuckle

2013-03-25 00:31:53

GAH, fuck that bug, ng needs something to not allow you to multi-post :(

(Updated ) I-smel responds:

Not deleting these because you guys should GREY OUT THE SUBMIT BUTTON AFTER I CLICK IT!!!


IcyknuckleIcyknuckle

2013-03-25 00:30:33

Fucking hell, your one of my favourite flash devs purely because you don't make upgrade games, so sick of that shit.

I'v been coming here for as long as I can remember but for some reason I'm really bad at actually doing community things and the thought of collaborating with other people freaks me out for some reason... But that's one of the best things about ng is community etc (not to mention the borderline porn ads running atm, I really need to become a supporter...).

I think il make a post on the collaborator and see if I get any interest, thanks for the inspiration!


IcyknuckleIcyknuckle

2013-03-25 00:30:33

Fucking hell, your one of my favourite flash devs purely because you don't make upgrade games, so sick of that shit.

I'v been coming here for as long as I can remember but for some reason I'm really bad at actually doing community things and the thought of collaborating with other people freaks me out for some reason... But that's one of the best things about ng is community etc (not to mention the borderline porn ads running atm, I really need to become a supporter...).

I think il make a post on the collaborator and see if I get any interest, thanks for the inspiration!


IcyknuckleIcyknuckle

2013-03-25 00:30:32

Fucking hell, your one of my favourite flash devs purely because you don't make upgrade games, so sick of that shit.

I'v been coming here for as long as I can remember but for some reason I'm really bad at actually doing community things and the thought of collaborating with other people freaks me out for some reason... But that's one of the best things about ng is community etc (not to mention the borderline porn ads running atm, I really need to become a supporter...).

I think il make a post on the collaborator and see if I get any interest, thanks for the inspiration!


IcyknuckleIcyknuckle

2013-03-25 00:30:30

Fucking hell, your one of my favourite flash devs purely because you don't make upgrade games, so sick of that shit.

I'v been coming here for as long as I can remember but for some reason I'm really bad at actually doing community things and the thought of collaborating with other people freaks me out for some reason... But that's one of the best things about ng is community etc (not to mention the borderline porn ads running atm, I really need to become a supporter...).

I think il make a post on the collaborator and see if I get any interest, thanks for the inspiration!


LuisLuis

2013-03-24 21:58:44

oh i just remembered, i think it was the guys at hero interactive or something? the guys with the ugly logo, FUCK THOSE GUYS. lmao.

(Updated ) I-smel responds:

Woah man you can't badmouth other flash game sites, representing NG!!

...but yea I have declined bids from N!nja K!wi based on hating their logo before.
Apparently they're actually a huge deal though.


LuisLuis

2013-03-24 21:55:42

i sighed then i cried. Well actually i remember having that same sort of sentiment when i went to FGS a few years ago. I cant remember who the developers i talked to were but they were like pfft to me and mike as if we as a company totally had no business being in a conference about the business of casual gaming. Overall, i really hated the mood of that conference. If you're any type of creative person you may as well check your heart at the coat check cause that will serve you no good at that conference.

On the plus side, i did meet a bunch of ng people I had always dreamed of meeting. When I went it was the golden age of game sponsorships (microtransactions were still just a 'buzz word'). How was the mood there this year? Seems the sponsorship well is drying up, i wonder how the mood has changed at these things, is it super aggressive now i wonder? Is it more cut throat?

I hope you like san fran. its one of my favorite cities, maybe im used to homeless from being in philadelphia and around major cities. There really are alot of hobos in san fran and san diego tho

Anywho, that aside, i do like san francisco, there are alot of homeless yea but that is a charm of its own. I

(Updated ) I-smel responds:

There's a load of tourist stuff in SF, so it's a bunch o fun. I mean everything's super cheap in the US compared to where I'm from, so I'm goin nuts.

The undertone of this summit is that flash games aren't a big gold rush any more, and adobe is bringing out a TONNE OF STUFF to catch up with unity. All the talk here is about cross-platform work, and stat-tracking and IAP (in-app-purchases). I've only heard the term "the sponsor model" once, and it was from someone saying it's old news. I mean... If you're not interested in the idea of putting a random treasure chest in your game, and tracking the conversion rate of how many people buy a key to open it, then FGS is kind of not your thing at all.

People are showing Stage3D, people are showing Adobe AIR Extensions, people are showing Kingdom Rush... I had no idea jmtb02 belonged to ArmorGames, and now kong. Jimp gave a fairly innocent talk on aesthetic design, but aaaaaaaa it looked like his first ever talk.

I met a table of newgrounders n got drunk. I also met the Abobo guys (HELLO BOMTOONS, READING THIS) and that was cool. Meeting newgrounders always feels refreshing, like starting on a good note, cos I know they're In the same boat as me where they don't know shit about what their ARPU is (average revenue per user) and I can tell them what I'm working on without getting this awkward "good luck with that, kid" look.

Also people shout "YO, I SMELL" across the hall.


MindChamberMindChamber

2013-03-24 18:39:25

I cried.. then sighed..:/

(Updated ) I-smel responds:

PEOPLE DON'T GIVE A SHIT ANY MORE, MINDCHAMBER.

Let me tell you about "whale baiting", in relation to in-app-purchases.
Hold on while I tell you about this hit new game "Bingo Blitz".


RealFactionRealFaction

2013-03-24 15:47:24

This post owns all the others. I've been with newgrounds since 2003 as far as visiting, 2006 as far as being a user goes. It's a great site and community but one thing that's bothered me is I wish more people would use audio portal music because I'm seeing more and more games with Kevin Macleod's music. Granted he's a good artist but he's not a newgrounds artist. Musicians on here it seems have been having more trouble getting out there opposed to 2008 I noticed.

That's the only problem I see with the site, it's been one of the few genuine communities of this day and age. The sad part is more people have heard of Castle Crashers than Newgrounds I believe. There are some things I miss about the feel of old newgrounds but it's still a fun place to be.


VidGameDudeVidGameDude

2013-03-24 09:44:17

I always had the notion you were the most perceptively profound user here.
Your thoughts, and ideals really do show for newgrounds and it's cause to forward the world in not just web games, but art in general such as music, coding, 2d, 3d, claymation, photography, sketch, literature, flash and much more!

smel, i hope your future is as bright as the one you paint for this site and its people.
Good luck.


CyberdevilCyberdevil

2013-03-24 08:23:58

Awesome post. I love this place for all reasons mentioned, though since Tom matured I guess the site did as well. I miss the attitude it used to have, that rebellious sneer, all the shocking and hateful content on the frontpage... but there's still nothing like it, it's still free for all. I signed up for a lot of other portals back when everybody was trying to copy NG, a lot of them better than this site in many ways, but apart from Flash Portal and Harry Jarry they're all gone now (and Flash Portal was always a blatant commercial copy anyway).

I'm not sure if the choice to phase away Flash is a good one though, since there really is a lot of potential with that program. For animations in particular it uses resources much more efficiently than other format, in that any included image/audio/etc is only stored once wheras a video is a continual sequences of images. It's a great way to save on size, even if size doesn't seem to be that big an issue now as it used to be.

Some changes are great, some not so, but it'll always be my favorite community. :)

Btw, @Exedor, concerning the removal of low-scoring submissions: the standard quality MP4 submission takes up ten times as much space as an old flash. The filesize limit for those are now up at 500MB while old flash usually didn't take up more than a MB, many of them considerably less. Flash like B barely takes up one KB. I'd rather they better optimize MP4 videos than get rid of old content, all of which us one of the reasons NG is the great community that it is, a place that let's the users judge.

(Updated ) I-smel responds:

A lot of the huge videos can't be compiled in flash. Either because they come out too huge, or because they have crazy Sony Vegas effects. Like that ink--... Thing from a couple weeks ago couldn't be in flash, so as far as format goes then who cares.
I actually hope they adopt unity games.

And with shit like masterardvark and catoblepas and porsnorkulus; newgrounds is still rebellious as funk compared to the next best thing.


ExedorExedor

2013-03-24 04:06:53

Good post.

- You're scarin' me with the 'why don't these guys get onboard' comments. Tom discussed that in a post a while back. If you add investors, you have people who'll tell you how to run your junk, and Tom (wisely) wants to keep full control. I hope they never 'get onboard' cuz things will change, and not necessarily for the better.

-As for hosting the music, most is meh, but some is real and good. I asked Tom to remove all the flashes that get to a score of 1.00 or less. It's less than blam score, and it'd clear up space on the servers. Before the redesign, there were over 21,000 submissions with a score below 1.00! He said it doesn't really take up much space, and I assume it's all still there. I still think it's unfair to have crap-scored items on here. If it stays below blam score for a week, have the system send it away automatically and make the site clean and tidy. :)

- Actually, darker sites use less power to display, thus extending battery life. Tom said so in a recent post. They're easier on the eyes, versus the bright white and light grey of other sites. I prefer the darker color scheme.

- I agree with quite a few of Mandog's comments. I miss the animations that used to play when you protected or blammed something. ...I miss things getting blammed, period. :\ I also agree about the pop-out movies. The author comment are too far down on the page now. Sometimes, there's an important note or instruction there, and you used to be able to catch it before playing the movie or game. Not now, tho. Before the redesign, the comments were right there, the link for the movie was readily apparent, and choosing 'play as a popup' was convenient. Now, you have to scroll down to get to the comments, and frankly, most of the time, who cares to read them enough to have to scroll down, then back up to play.

- Yup. Tom and his team have an awesome thing here. They really work their butts off to keep this thing here for us to play with. I wish the spammers and noobs who submit tests/demos/crap would realize the damage they do by making the content crappy around here. Traffic down? That's why. I wish NGers would take some pride in the site and keep it strong by blamming stuff once in a while. This is the only site I know of that the leadership will answer your questions, and even pop in to your posts every once in a while. Newgrounds rulz!

I-smel responds:

All the stuff I'm saying that sounds bad is just examples of what other sites are doing, and what investors would expect from newgrounds, and stuff that newgrounds has declined.

I like newgrounds because it IS a dark site that still has a movies section, and still let's me post on the front page. That's the point.


SaminatSaminat

2013-03-23 22:49:03

Oh for sure, Newgrounds is the king of websites! I remember the very first video I ever watched on this site too! Heheh, it was El-Cid's Megaman Vs. Quickman, back in '03 was it? Back then, I was still uncorrupted, so when my dad walked by, I was frantically trying to close the window! Man, my only regret was I didn't jump on the band wagon sooner.

Oh, and @deathink , you sexy stud, NEWGROUNDS <3^2 Hahah!!!


mandogmandog

2013-03-23 22:10:18

ITS NOT THE SAME


deathinkdeathink

2013-03-23 21:50:56

NEWGROUNDS <3


test-objecttest-object

2013-03-23 20:55:19

This is a beautiful bunch of words.

It's true that, whilst Newgrounds isn't particularly the 'best-looking' site, it's the most personal that I know of, especially right now.

<3

I-smel responds:

Also I think it's the best-looking!
Other sites don't let their favourite art contributors draw all the page backgrounds!


FrozenFireFrozenFire

2013-03-23 20:16:25

Im with you.
100% respect for Tom and the gang for holding strong despite all the temptation.

Can't say that will work on it's own though, it's always going to be a tough uphill climb.


I-smelI-smel

2013-03-23 20:00:55

I wrote this in a google doc a couple times last week cos I wanted to get it completely spot on, but I guess in the end I decided to just wing it.
Hopefully this doesn't just come off as afar dumb rant.


MSGheroMSGhero

2013-03-23 19:58:45

Man, I need to go to GDC or FGS or PAX or something next year...the most eventful thing this past week was that my flight got delayed an hour


mandogmandog

2013-03-23 19:52:05

Newgrounds would be the best site ever if:

- Had auto-playing music (endless handbag)

- Darker, site needs to be way darker...

- Users had to vote properly on under judgement or they don't get EXP

- Icons replaced with level icons, and icons can be Light , neutral or dark depending on how you vote

- Aura

- Flash tutorials on a drop down list

- Classic portal is prominent, games and movies un-split

- SITE NEEDS TO BE DARKER AGAIN

- Flash movies no longer embedded, they pop up.

- User pages are in pop-up windows (unless typed directly in browser)

- Blam and save animations

I could go on and on...

I-smel responds:

You can get flash movies to pop out, there's a button in the top-right.


mandogmandog

2013-03-23 19:44:03

Thanks dude!
oh, Newgrounds...ohh....


VertVert

2013-03-23 19:37:57

Nicely put. I don't agree 100% with what you've written, but the jist of it is pretty true.

^_^