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Looking Back, Looking Forward

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TomFulp
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Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:16 PM Reply

As 2013 comes to a close, it seemed like a good time to look back at the past year and talk a little about what is happening in 2014.

We ended 2012 with the introduction of Playlists and we started 2013 with the launch of the Playlists Hub, where you can sort playlists by date or views and also filter to only show playlists by your friends. In the future, we're considering porting "favorites" for content into the Playlists system, so your Favorite Games would become a Favorite Games playlist, same for movies, art and music. Favorite Users would be rebranded as the people you follow and remain the same otherwise. This may or may not happen in 2014, it's a discussion item at the moment. The goal is simplification / less systems.

January also marked the launch of Swivel, our tool for best-ever SWF to video conversions. It was developed by Mike, who was working for NG but is now working for the Behemoth in case you were curious!

The ability to upload video meant setting up a video server to process multiple formats. BrenTheMan, who joined the staff in late 2012 as our new sys-admin, was up to the task and went above and beyond with that!

Support was added to play video on iOS and Android devices. We began uploading video alternatives for existing SWF movies, so that classics could be viewed on devices that don't support Flash. This was part of a larger project system overhaul that allows for multiple files for multiple platforms under a single project.

This update to the project system also expanded into games, with support for HTML5 and Unity games being added. We intend to add more direct Unity support in the future; right now it's a bit of a workaround using the same method you would use to share an HTML5 game.

We added a "Touch Friendly" checkbox to projects so you can specify that your game doesn't require a keyboard. This will ultimately allow us to provide mobile users with a list of games that work on their phone or tablet.

The Collabinator was developed to assist with talent match-making. I heard a lot of success stories early on and would love to hear more; if you started a partnership thanks to the Collabinator, post about it here!

The expanded feeds section was introduced, making feeds more accessible. We plan to remove that yellow star in the header (the old feed) because most people never knew what it was and it has been kinda redundant ever since the other feed updates.

There was a big back-end change to add support for unicode, which solved lots of quirks we had been having with unsupported text and gave people more freedom.

Thumbnails are now being auto-compressed when they are too big; we realized the front page had content thumbnails in the range of 100k because that's what people uploaded.

Massive behind-the-scenes changes to the publishing system solved lots of quirks that had lingered since the 2012 redesign launch. It is also now set up for pre-roll video ads, although we had a false start with that this year. We will be revisiting this in 2014 and hoping for the best; we want to be competitive with YouTube in terms of how much money you can make from your movies (and games).

Most recently, a rich text editor was introduced for blogs! You can now get a better idea of what your post will look like as you make it and you can add multiple pictures and videos, including content embeds from NG itself for content that has embedding enabled!

That roughly sums up what NG accomplished in 2013, not including the events, content and community going-ons.

There was plenty of bad news this year too!

The number of 1099s we send out triggered an audit; the IRS has been cracking down on companies that pay full-time workers with 1099s instead of making them official W-2 employees. I imagine this is partly to get accurate healthcare requirement assessments and also to collect tax money quicker, since employees on payroll have taxes removed from every paycheck while someone who receives a 1099 might wait all year if they don't file quarterly estimates.

The good news was that our 1099s are legit and the rest of the audit went fine and we didn't owe anything. I still had to spend a lot of time on preparation and money on the accountant, though.

If you recall, we were audited by the state of PA in 2007 when we obtained our sales tax ID for the launch of the store. So now I've been through both a state and federal audit.

Financially, this year completely sucked. We've done a lot to reduce costs and I plan to sell the office in 2014, which has been a difficult decision but it feels like overkill to maintain this big place when the staff has gotten smaller and smaller. A smaller office will free up money AND mental bandwidth.

BTW the store will be moving away from physical goods so please buy a Tankman, they take up a lot of storage space and we don't want to move them all to storage when we transition to a smaller office.

Another one of our problems this year has been out of our control. There is a peering dispute between Verizon and Cogent, the company we buy our bandwidth from. As a result, NG loads slowly for Verizon FIOS users. Some say Verizon is doing this because Netflix relies on Cogent and competes with Verizon's Redbox video service. Verizon says it's because Cogent is sending imbalanced traffic. I think if you are paying Verizon for a line of bandwidth to pull content, that bandwidth shouldn't be getting throttled.

I knew in mid-2012 that 2013 was gonna be a rough year, with ongoing expenses as well as looming hardware purchases such as a new storage system and load balancer (both now purchased). I'm happy to report that we survived and can look ahead.

So what can you expect in 2014?

Our web design will move towards being more adaptive for mobile. Media, blogs and forums will be much easier to enjoy on a phone or tablet.

PsychoGoldfish and BrenTheMan are collaborating on a BIG project but I'll save the details on that for later.

Features are coming to help with the development of your work, the ongoing promotion and the monetization of your work.

I see a lot of people scraping for followers on other networks and not getting a lot of value out of it. I hope to bring much more value to having fans on NG. I think some big players on the web are entering a period of decline while a lot of people are still very passionate about what we're doing here on Newgrounds. I hope that means something long-term.

Thank you everyone who has stood by Newgrounds over the years. There are a ton of places nowadays where you can share your work, so THANK YOU to everyone who continues to share their movies, games, art, music and literature here on NG. I know some sites are flush with cash and others have the benefit of being shiny and new, but I still believe that NG is filling a void that none of them could ever replace. We're the heart and soul of the web.

Here's hoping for a great 2014!

Conal
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:16 PM Reply

I'm so excited for 2014!


​   ▲      ▲      ▲
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                                                                      ಠ_ಠ

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Sword-of-Kings
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:19 PM Reply

This year sucked.

kirby1837
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:21 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 01:16 PM, Conal wrote: I'm so excited for 2014

2014 is a good year for wii u owners.


spam my steam account here
or here

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ForgottenDawn
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:26 PM Reply

Happy new year, everyone. It's been a fun year, all things considered.


loading: ...\root\project\Forgotten_Dawn\art \sig.gif

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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:29 PM Reply

Ah man! Great post.

I am still missing the Cyrillic letter support and, of course, the literature portal.

Also, treasure hunt 2k11 #neverforget

Tom check your PMs and if the answer is 'no' can you help me out and give some advice on the subject, please?

Thanks Chdonga for the signature. <3

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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:29 PM Reply

Can I be a mod in 2014?


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ScaryPicnic made me do it.My letterboxd.

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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:38 PM Reply

This year did have some ups and downs but I know we can kep pulling through no matter what. Here's to a New Year!


I have a penis

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Manly-Chicken
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:40 PM Reply

Plz NG paid game download service.


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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:47 PM Reply

With the store moving away from physical goods should we expect a lot more digital stuff to enter the store? For example maybe purchasing a Behemoth game through NG and getting a Steam code?


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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:50 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 01:29 PM, CrazyRock wrote: Ah man! Great post.

I am still missing the Cyrillic letter support and, of course, the literature portal.

Also, treasure hunt 2k11 #neverforget

Tom check your PMs and if the answer is 'no' can you help me out and give some advice on the subject, please?

Поддерживается же)

MSGhero
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:50 PM Reply

But I like the feeds star in the header :(

Keeblur
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 01:51 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 01:16 PM, TomFulp wrote: Thank you everyone who has stood by Newgrounds over the years. There are a ton of places nowadays where you can share your work, so THANK YOU to everyone who continues to share their movies, games, art, music and literature here on NG. I know some sites are flush with cash and others have the benefit of being shiny and new, but I still believe that NG is filling a void that none of them could ever replace. We're the heart and soul of the web.

Here's hoping for a great 2014!

I have been a fan of NG since even before the portal (who remembers bashing baby seals and the tele-tubbies sun going supernova?) and will always be an NG fan. My New Years resolution is to contribute new content to NG in 2014.
Keep up the good work Tom! NG will RULE 2014!

TomFulp
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 02:04 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 01:51 PM, Keeblur wrote: I have been a fan of NG since even before the portal (who remembers bashing baby seals and the tele-tubbies sun going supernova?) and will always be an NG fan. My New Years resolution is to contribute new content to NG in 2014.
Keep up the good work Tom! NG will RULE 2014!

Excited to see what you make!

PsychoZoid
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 02:09 PM Reply

Happy New Years. I am sure that 2014 will be a great year! I'm looking forward to all the new feature that are coming to Newgrounds in 2014 too.


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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 02:10 PM Reply

Swivel is fantastic. But I think not allowing SWF entries to be viewed from a mobile device.. even one with a Flash player installed... was a bad move.

My phone can view SWFs in dump but not in The Portal so it's NOT that my device is incompatible. What is the intent here? Video files don't allow interactivity or snazzy menus.

The normal internet rhetoric that Flash is dying and all that because Apple blah blah whatever... should not apply to Newgrounds. Flash is what it is because of NG and vice versa. To abandon the medium and forget NG's roots... tragic.

Viper
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 02:12 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 01:16 PM, TomFulp wrote: The expanded feeds section was introduced, making feeds more accessible. We plan to remove that yellow star in the header (the old feed) because most people never knew what it was and it has been kinda redundant ever since the other feed updates.

Aw but I liked the little star at the top....oh well. I guess I can get used to it not being there.

Financially, this year completely sucked. We've done a lot to reduce costs and I plan to sell the office in 2014, which has been a difficult decision but it feels like overkill to maintain this big place when the staff has gotten smaller and smaller. A smaller office will free up money AND mental bandwidth.

Hopefully you'll be able to have at least one more Pico Day there before you sell the place.
I want to go to the NG HQ at least one time.

BTW the store will be moving away from physical goods so please buy a Tankman, they take up a lot of storage space and we don't want to move them all to storage when we transition to a smaller office.

I'll see if I can. Granted I don't know where I'd put it but I'll see if I can make some room if/when I get one. Though I have a question. It says I have $5 worth of Store Credit. Am I able to use it? Or do I need to have a purchase thats over $5 to use it because when I try to get something that'll come to $5 (with shipping included) the option to use my store credit isn't available.

PsychoGoldfish and BrenTheMan are collaborating on a BIG project but I'll save the details on that for later.

Lookin forward to it.

Thank you everyone who has stood by Newgrounds over the years. There are a ton of places nowadays where you can share your work, so THANK YOU to everyone who continues to share their movies, games, art, music and literature here on NG. I know some sites are flush with cash and others have the benefit of being shiny and new, but I still believe that NG is filling a void that none of them could ever replace. We're the heart and soul of the web.

No prob Tom. Newgrounds is my favorite place I visit on the internet.
Dunno what I'd do without it.


Formally known as Viper50
When life gives you lemons...squirt juice in your enemy's eyes!
Not very important but my lastfm. I guess you can click on it if you want.

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TomFulp
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 02:14 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 02:12 PM, Viper50 wrote: It says I have $5 worth of Store Credit. Am I able to use it? Or do I need to have a purchase thats over $5 to use it because when I try to get something that'll come to $5 (with shipping included) the option to use my store credit isn't available.

The $5 should come off the total when it comes time to check out.

Tanadrine-Studios
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 02:20 PM Reply

A nice wrap up of the events and happening on NG.

One thing about NG that I've always considered one of its big strengths is that it fills a niche that other sites don't really focus on; Animated content and digital media (games, music, art). Perhaps just my opinion, but I feel that looking forward NG should try to build upon this niche because it is so freaking hard to find elsewhere.

Something I'd like to see eventually is a way to have "Blog videos"... videos which are only visible on the user's blog so that Newgrounds members don't have to go through YouTube in order to do video updates and similar stuff. I want to abandon YouTube completely, but this is a barrier to doing that. Help artists/producers present more content for viewers without having to scatter their time and resources between a bunch of other websites!

SoTJake
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 02:25 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 01:19 PM, Sword-of-Kings wrote: This year sucked.

^This

Viper
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 02:27 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 02:14 PM, TomFulp wrote:
At 12/31/13 02:12 PM, Viper50 wrote: It says I have $5 worth of Store Credit. Am I able to use it? Or do I need to have a purchase thats over $5 to use it because when I try to get something that'll come to $5 (with shipping included) the option to use my store credit isn't available.
The $5 should come off the total when it comes time to check out.

Ah okay. Thanks for the heads up on that.
I was planning on putting more money onto the paypal account I used last time anyways so I'll see what I can do for that.

decided to put a Tankman in my cart and that brought the overall total of everything in there to $19.25 and it'll cost $8.75 for shipping so I'll need $28 but since I already have $5 in there I'd just need $23.

Formally known as Viper50
When life gives you lemons...squirt juice in your enemy's eyes!
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 02:43 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 01:16 PM, TomFulp wrote:
I plan to sell the office in 2014

This better happen AFTER one last bitching Pico Day party!


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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 02:54 PM Reply

I hope in the future Newgrounds makes a huge comeback, and you can get an awesome office again. I'd love to visit the newgrounds HQ some day! :(

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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 02:54 PM Reply

No more office parties?

Oh well, I'm just glad Newgrounds is still going period. Really wanted to see some Pico figs get made tho. :D


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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 02:58 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 01:21 PM, kirby1837 wrote:
At 12/31/13 01:16 PM, Conal wrote: I'm so excited for 2014
2014 is a good year for wii u owners.

Even better for PC gamers LOL. PC Master RACE !


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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 03:02 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 01:16 PM, TomFulp wrote: 2As 013 comes to a close, it seemed like a good time to look back at the past year and talk a little about what is happening in 2014.

*ye goode speech*

Here's hoping for a great 2014!

Here, here! :) I'd like to thank you, Tom, for everything, you have helped my life progress and it's been an honor to be a part of Newgrounds for 10 years (3 years on an old account called jktvman i believe). I'd like to thank everyone else on the NG staff and the community for keeping newgrounds gold. While it may not be what it once was, it is still standing as a tall reminder that indie development is powerful, that we are creators amongst a large community of enthusiasts. May we continue further in our passion for what we do. :)

Can't wait to see what else is in store for you guys. I have two New Year's Resolutions because, I can. 1. Release my 3 albums I have planned, 2. Publish the book I've been writing for almost 4 years and pursue my dream of a writing career....rest is on my latest post.

What is your resolution, everyone?

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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 03:08 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 01:16 PM, TomFulp wrote: Thank you everyone who has stood by Newgrounds over the years. There are a ton of places nowadays where you can share your work, so THANK YOU to everyone who continues to share their movies, games, art, music and literature here on NG. I know some sites are flush with cash and others have the benefit of being shiny and new, but I still believe that NG is filling a void that none of them could ever replace. We're the heart and soul of the web.

Here's hoping for a great 2014!

An inspiring final message! Thank you for creating this great community, and for keeping it alive through harsh times! Other sites may be flush with cash, but this one's stuffed with flash. Where they have the benefit of being shiny and new, this place has the benefit of being timely and huge; a creative refuge for all types of styles and tools. Looking forward to that BIG project underway and all other greatness the New Year may bring! Happy 2014!

mandog
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 03:23 PM Reply

Pff, everything is going too fast now, I never knew it before, but it is, I miss all the damn GeoCities sites and the interactive webpages, and it seemed I was the only one who likes flash intros?.

Gosh, and the people you meet on the internet are boring these days, I've only met what, 10 people this year that were actually cool? maybe even less, 4chan sucks now, just a bunch of people saying faggot over and over thinking it only gets funnier, and the edgyiest of the edgyiest say the N word.

The NG BBS has stayed the same for me though, I get a banned a lot less, maybe that's because I am a better user or if the mods are more lenient. Apparently the BBS has gone downhill though, hm.

Thats my 2 cents.


original I am.

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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 03:30 PM Reply

keep up the good work i cant wait for 2014

WiiFittoToreinaa
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Response to Looking Back, Looking Forward Dec. 31st, 2013 @ 03:31 PM Reply

At 12/31/13 01:19 PM, Sword-of-Kings wrote: This year sucked.

Agreed.


Get lyrically fit!!!!
Props to Embr for putting my sig into shape!!!

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