2004 Updates 2003-12-27 12:03:43
I've read all of the responses so far to my last post (suggestions for NG in 2004). Here are some responses:
1) We haven't been maintaining the collections / showcase pages much for the past few months because we know we will have to "rebuild" them when the new dynamic collections system is launched. We should probably keep them better updated anyway, but it is easy to get stuck in the "lets just wait" mindset. When the new system launches, it will be much easier for us to personally maintain the games, toons, and other various collections. We will also be able to enlist help from admins, and Flash authors will be able to maintain their own series pages. Our system for cataloguing content will shoot through the roof when this launches.
2) Ever since we started on the Alien Hominid console game, I have made a commitment not to work on any other games until it is finished. I have a bad habit of getting sidetracked - when I get excited about a new game I am working on, I never get around to finishing the old one. Right now I am putting a lot of work into Alien Hominid, and hope to have it finished in the next few months.
Once AH is finished, I have big plans for Pico 2 and a Samurai Asshole remake. Pico 2 has seen long delays because Jose and I both have schedule conflicts - for a while Jose wasn't able to work on art, and for a while now I have been focused on making AH a reality. It has been my dream since an early age to make a console game, so this is a big deal to me!
3) The new ad on the frontpage is some foreshadowing of what you should expect to see more of this year. Don't worry, though... Stamper is redesigning the header to accomodate it. These super-banners pay much better than the traditional banners, and we plan to use them exclusively (so don't expect to see double banners in the header for very long). We have faith that the pages will actually look less cluttered with the new formatting, and everyone will adjust and be happy with the new ads. Their space is much more clearly defined, so you don't have a banner squashed between the logo, other ads, navbar, etc... If we can get a consistent supply of super-banners, they will be able to replace many other forms of advertising currently on the site. I do hope to drastically reduce pop-ups, if not remove them completely.
It is important to support our mainstream ads. It has become very difficult to make deals with large companies, because they mostly only look to buy space from consolidated networks. For example, companies will combine multiple sites under their network umbrella, thus boosting their overall stats on Media Metrix (the main internet rankings). So while Newgrounds may have more traffic than any individual site in a given network, we won't show up in the list of top 20 internet properties.
When the buyers for major companies go out to find websites to advertise on, their mentallity is often, "I will only buy ad space on a top 20 web property". We have to open their eyes to the fact that NG is more popular than those sites. We are just acting alone and not tricking them into buying into an entire network of random sites.
4) We are always working on adding new servers. We bought a new fileserver recently and it has not yet been implemented. Expect that to happen in January. I'm hoping we will have a lot less errors by the end of January. The database is something we will need to do some work on over the next year. It is difficult, because we user free, open-source software, which currently doesn't have a reliable solution for load-balancing over multiple databases. Hopefully this year there will be some progress with that.
5) We will be relaunching NG Mag soon. This will include Alphas, DevSpot, and a new twist on NG Lit. More on that later. :)
I used to talk a lot about our goals and plans for the site, but I don't do that so much any more. There are a lot of NG copycat sites, some of them with better financial backing. It seems they are always waiting to see what we do next, so they can copy that as well. It is frustrating to see fans flock to those sites, knowing they are just internet opportunists with no background or true enthusiasm for Flash or independent art. But oh well, that's just how things work. I'm happy that most people stick with NG. :)
More updates later!