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Vision.txt

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TomFulp
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Vision.txt 2017-06-21 18:30:28 Reply

I was tidying up some folders on my computer when I came across Vision.txt, a use case I wrote on August 6th, 2009. Reading this can be kinda inspiring and kinda sad, I've made some notes at the bottom.

----

Joe comes to Newgrounds on a Wednesday and it is New Game Wednesday. The front page has a Castle Crashers reskin and big promotional link for the Castle Crashers website. At the top of the content section is the featured game of the week. Newgrounds premiers a new game every Wednesday at 12:01am and gives it 100% of the front page top rotation for one day, where it is guaranteed 100,000 views. After Wednesday, it will remain as part of a rotation of featured content for the next week.

In addition to the featured new game, the entire front page consists of new games released in the past week!

Joe plays the featured game and as he does, the medals are unlocked real-time within the page. The developer of the game is making money from all the ads on the page, and will make at least $1000 in combined Flash Ad revenue and NG revshare during the first week of release. In addition to the traffic received on NG, the game page has links where other websites can grab the file and host the game on their own websites. Distribution partners also grab this info from an XML feed of new games for distribution.

Joe decides to check out the developer's user page.

The user page has a custom skin designed by the developer. There are 728x90 superbanners at the top and bottom of the page, as well as a 300x250 ad down the side. The developer gets revshare from all of these ads. Down the left column is a Twitter feed with the latest tweets by the developer. Down the right is the latest post from the developer's blog, with multiple pictures of their new game. This post is also attached to the Alpha for the new game, so Joe clicks the link to check that out.

The Alpha page contains info about the new game, screenshots, and an area for bug tester applications. The developer is getting revshare on this as well, so it is worth it to keep promoting the page, not just to hype up the game but to generate ongoing revenue during the development process.

Joe decides to apply to be a beta tester for the new game! He gets approved and now has private access to play the game and submit his bugs. In the end he will get listed in the additional credits as a bug tester.

Newgrounds also has access to the private playtest and would like to sponsor this game as a weekly premier.

Wednesday premier games are offered the following deal from Newgrounds:

1) A primary license, meaning the viral copy contains NG branding but site-locked versions with custom branding can be sold to individual websites.
2) Integrated Flash Ads.
3) Integrated Medals.
4) One week exclusivity on NG before site locked versions can be sold.

The developer accepts the offer and finishes the game. It is uploaded in the Project System and the release date is scheduled for the upcoming Wednesday at 12:01am. The developer can now sit back and watch the magic happen.

A staff member (or the developer themselves) uploads a large showcase image to appear in the showcase box. This is scheduled to go live on Wednesday at 12:02am. The final URL is already known because a slug is used from the time the project is created.

Joe comes back to Newgrounds on Thursday and there is a weekly post, thanking the sponsor for New Game Wednesday, making various news announcements and reminding everyone that Friday is the First Friday of the month, meaning a First Friday Art Show on the front page.

On First Friday the best Art Portal submissions are showcased on the front page. The monthly event is sponsored by Wacom, with the front page skinned with Wacom branding and a free Wacom Cintiq going to the best artist who doesn't already have one.

The front page showcase box is promoting an ongoing Art Contest, so Joe decides to check it out. The link goes to an art submission by JohnnyUtah, who has posted a picture of face art for a new toy being produced by Newgrounds, and has invited others to Respond with their own submissions. Below the piece are the four latest submissions, so Joe clicks a link to view all. The resulting page allows him to view all response art, as well as sort if by views and score to find the best!

Joe likes a contest submission by Famiry. Famiry's submission has been tagged "Famiry", which links up to a t-shirt that has been tagged "Famiry" in the store. Joe decides to instead check out Famiry's user page, which has also been tagged and linked to the store, resulting in a t-shirt promotion there as well. Joe decides to finally check out the t-shirt in the store. He likes it but doesn't have any money. Fortunately, Joe has accumulated $32 in revshare from his own works on NG, so he transfers that money to store credit and buys the shirt. Joe notices that for $20 more he can get a badge on his page showing he was an NG supporter but he isn't gonna buy that now. Maybe he'll get it before the year is over, so future people will know how OG he is.

Joe decides to check out the incoming submissions and help with the judgment process. He is delighted to cast the final judgment vote and SAVE a submission, resulting in a fun movie by MindChamber.

Joe decides to check out MindChamber's page and sees a link to an interview with MindChamber in the Lit Portal. He reads the interview, which credits UserX as the interviewer and MindChamber as the interviewee.

----

I think I meant to write more but stopped there. What we accomplished after this was written:

1) The Castle Crashers reskin was a placeholder for what would ideally be ads for big budget game releases. We never actually obtained big advertisers like this.

2) We did manage to sponsor a new game almost ever week for several years, though! Toss the Turtle launched 11 days after I wrote this and almost hit 100k plays on day one.

3) We did get medals to unlock real-time in the page, although we need to get that working for HTML5 games now.

4) User pages still don't have custom skins but we did add multi-pictures to blogs and have an awesome user page update coming. Still no Twitter status integration, which would be dandy.

5) We did introduce rev share ads to user pages but ad performance was never great and we ultimately had to pull user page ads due to the unpredictable content people would post.

6) The Alpha page is still totally on the agenda and I would very much like to have the whole bug testing system as well. The bug tracker was actually developed by an intern one summer but never got integrated into the 2012 update and is outdated at this point. The project system launched in 2012, which does allow authors to give beta access to a private preview page.

7) Would still like to have scheduled project publishing, although it hasn't been as pressing as other features.

8) First Friday would be a cool event. "Response art" was an idea by @W-P-S that would still be a fun addition.

9) The NG store closed in 2014 and all those cross-promo ideas bit the dust with it.

10) MindChamber created some beautiful BLAM / PROTECT animations but they hadn't made it into the layout yet and many of the files died in a hard drive explosion.

11) Lit Portal... Would still be cool some day. More interviews, at the least.

Of course, this vision didn't mention anything about the site being mobile friendly or pivoting away from Flash. I also couldn't anticipate just how much revenue would decline in the years to come.

This is why supporters are so vital to our future!

In Plan B land, we've been developing our first-ever Newgrounds release for console and PC, Nightmare Cops! Hoping it will ultimately fund some big projects in NG-land. There's another old document called "Everything, by Everyone, Everywhere" that has yet to be realized.

Vision.txt


Nightmare Cops, the game JohnnyUtah, Spazkid and I have been working on.

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RobertClock
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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-21 18:37:20 (edited 2017-06-21 18:37:49) Reply

That was sobering. Nobody could have guessed how much things would change in a few short years around the turn of the decade.


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SardonicSamurai
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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-21 18:41:51 Reply

I can't wait to get my hands on Nightmare Cops (And I'm stoked it'll be on PC too!) I hope it breathes new life into Newgrounds come launch time! From what I've seen, the game will blow people away!


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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-21 18:48:09 Reply

At 6/21/17 06:30 PM, TomFulp wrote: 8) First Friday would be a cool event. "Response art" was an idea by @W-P-S that would still be a fun addition.

Funny to see you still remembered that idea after all these years!
I completely forgot about that, lol

I'm flattered

OcarinaOfBlowing
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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-21 19:07:03 Reply

Hard drive explosion? The RPM went bananas?

MindChamber
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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-21 19:51:13 Reply

Those list are always fun, Looks like you got a good chunk of it done or in the works.

PhantomArcade
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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-21 20:11:49 Reply

Heh, Lit Portal. It feels like a lifetime since I recall hearing about that.

This list will be child's play compared to what will be accomplished in the bright future. It just didn't happen immediately, but a come back after a tough struggle makes for an even better story.

Saminat
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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-21 21:22:49 Reply

A golden legacy filled with ambition and promise, it fills me with pride to remember just how much of that we did get! Like @phantomarcade3000 said, we've got a wonderful future ahead of us! Newgrounds for life my brothers!


A journey of a thousand miles begins with complaining

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-21 21:44:39 Reply

This is like reading one of those 50's era predictions of what the year 2000 would be like, only that a lot of this stuff actually came to pass! I'm glad Newgrounds is still chugging along, and I hope it remains for a long, long time!


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ninjamuffin99
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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-21 22:54:09 Reply

Monthly events like "First Friday" would be pretty neat. Not so much contests or holidays, just little things every once in a while to spice things up.
Custom skins on profiles could be neat, even if they're just old site skins, I really like last years clock day one. Mybe it could be a supporter feature heyyyy??

That Alpha thing would be really handy and cool.

If I ever make a very successful game, I promise to get a lifetime supply of supporter status on Newgrounds! And I'll make 'em $2.99 monthly payments! OR I'll buy a bunch of copies of Nighmare Cops!


#BringBackBeardFulp || RIP STATICSKULL

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-21 23:11:27 (edited 2017-06-21 23:40:37) Reply

That was a pretty cool walkthrough-read. Regarding NG, so much has changed since the 09's internet (especially on the landscape for web/browser games, and ads) but a good fraction of the features still seem achievable through other paths.

It would be nice to count with the art response for community activities, and the Alpha page sounds really handy!, inviting testers to a project's preview does a good job right now, but an organized community platform optimized for that would be great, even if just a part of the game gets released on NG.

That said, It's great to see an official Newgrounds game going for a release on multiple platforms!!, that wasn't even on the list :O

//I just wish I had been able to grab some more physical NG goodies from the store...


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RealFaction
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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-21 23:55:13 Reply

At 6/21/17 06:30 PM, TomFulp wrote: I was tidying up some folders on my computer when I came across Vision.txt, a use case I wrote on August 6th, 2009. Reading this can be kinda inspiring and kinda sad, I've made some notes at the bottom.

This is a totally unexpected post from you, I've never really seen you post something like this before, but this is really cool. :) You've come far with the site and can't wait to see what other ideas you have in store @TomFulp . I'm really looking forward to the game. The demo was amazing.

FrozenFire
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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-21 23:59:36 Reply

At 6/21/17 06:30 PM, TomFulp wrote: I'm a cutie

I was lucky enough to be front showcase a few times for flash games and I can't express properly how cool it was to see something I made front and center on a website I grew up dreaming about being a part of.

Thanks Tom :)

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 00:40:27 Reply

2007-2009 was when the internet was making its decline as the big businesses and data analytics moved in. I'm not sure if there will ever be a return to the wild west we used to have short of all current internet and advertising laws being dropped and remade from the ground up.

In the meantime though, We've gotta protect NG going forward however we can, as long as it doesn't endanger the vision and history we've built so far. NG being a historic name has a lot of power in itself. If you ever propped up a go-fund me page if we were in danger of shutting down, people who don't even go here but remember going in here would pitch in to save it, but hopefully we never have to resort to anything like that.

Speaking of money, I just started a new job a few days ago. Digging myself out of the hole now, and should be able to buy a year's worth of supporter next month.


Leave me a comment sometime, It means a lot to me.

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 02:07:34 Reply

How far along is Nightmare Cops compared to when I got to try it out during Pico Day 2016? You get those secondary characters up and going yet?

@TOMFULP


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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 02:11:29 Reply

Tom is so sentimental.


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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 04:23:56 Reply

All that mentioned which has not yet come to be still sounds awesome. The revenue predictions seem insanely high though, pretty amazing to know that at one point in time getting such a chunk of money for just one submission was possible. Also RIP those beautiful BLAM and PROTECT animations I've been asking for for so long yet never knew had at one point after their initial point of existence existed and were in the process of being added!! Still hope to see them someday, in whatever new form the new time presents.

This was a pretty inspiring read overall, life's full of unrealized ambitions but it's nice most of the vision did come to be, and what didn't seems to have been halted by worldly circumstance rather than just... lack of dedication. Now'd be an optimal time to write another Vision.txt to post up in another almost-ten years. ;) Thanks for sharing!!!

Also Nightmare Cops sounds promising.

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 05:50:24 (edited 2017-06-22 05:54:05) Reply

That was a good read, looking forward to "Everything, by Everyone, Everywhere.txt". I think you can be proud of what you achieved here Tom. Especially interesting to me is how internet and technology thwarted your plans, as well as the ad monopoly run by google. It's a crying shame you've had to postpone so many of these amazing things in order to fix a leaking ship. If you don't mind me asking, how come you never saw this coming?


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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 06:24:21 Reply

Well. At least you never gave up on Newgrounds. Its still here, staying strong doing what its best at. Thats all that matters.

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 07:41:37 Reply

I feel like I came to NG and got into Flash way too late. Just as everything seemed to be slowing down I started making stuff and learning the ropes. NG is still great and I check it out once a day if I can. I wish I still had time to make content to share here, or anywhere for that matter. Life beats you the fuck down, it's worked me over good the last few years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR3ccmWmLhk

I'm just glad NG is still here, and I defend it at every chance. It has a special place in my heart.

BrandyBuizel
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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 07:55:14 Reply

Keep the dream alive Tom, I can't wait to play Nightmare Cops!

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 08:50:14 Reply

I really miss the store, I remember ordering a Penicorn from it ages back under another account I used before starting game development. Hard to believe I've been here since 2004/2005 with my first registered account in early 2006. I was waiting on the rest of the peni-pals to come out and make a purchase, but I'm guessing that they didn't sell well enough to merit it really.

The revenue being cut by the advertising drying up a lot is a damn shame and I'm very happy to keep supporting NG as a Supporter. It's a small price to pay for all that I've gained here and I've no plans to stop using the website any time soon. I definitely think that the shift away from Flash is beneficial. HTML5 support is pretty valuable to NG staying alive and I know for sure that I'll make some submissions in the future in HTML5.

I hope the alpha system and bug testing features end up coming out, they'd be very useful. Is there a rough ETA on that Tom or is it too subject to change?


Working on Tale of Enki: Pilgrimage, an RPG with a few twists. Wishlist it on Steam here, free demo now available!

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 09:15:38 Reply

At 6/22/17 02:07 AM, ZJ wrote: How far along is Nightmare Cops compared to when I got to try it out during Pico Day 2016? You get those secondary characters up and going yet?

@TOMFULP

That's actually the crunch we're doing right now - the secondary characters still have a lot of placeholder art / rough animations. We're only gonna have three playable characters to choose from so that lightens the load a bit. Also trying to finally get voices nailed down for the other characters - @Jazlyte is now one of them!

Vision.txt


Nightmare Cops, the game JohnnyUtah, Spazkid and I have been working on.

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 09:15:59 Reply

Congratulations! This is going to be awesome!

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 09:18:39 Reply

At 6/22/17 12:40 AM, MinatoArisato wrote: 2007-2009 was when the internet was making its decline as the big businesses and data analytics moved in. I'm not sure if there will ever be a return to the wild west we used to have short of all current internet and advertising laws being dropped and remade from the ground up.

Speaking of money, I just started a new job a few days ago. Digging myself out of the hole now, and should be able to buy a year's worth of supporter next month.

Thanks! That is what is so game changing about the supporter system; advertising doesn't matter if we have enough supporters. People who post their content here wouldn't even have to worry about what ads will run or whether they should build ads into their content if we had a ton of surplus money getting redistributed every month. It's like a Netflix anyone can participate in making content for. Patreon has helped a lot of people but not everyone wants to ask their fans for money and similarly not everyone wants to sell their content in storefronts (or their content is too small to have a big impact there). That's why this system could be super ideal if enough people got onboard.


Nightmare Cops, the game JohnnyUtah, Spazkid and I have been working on.

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 09:24:43 Reply

Looks like nightmare cops has come a long way since i saw it a few years back at NG HQ

*wipes tear from eye*

Supporting all the way every day

just need more time in the day right :D

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 09:46:33 Reply

At 6/22/17 05:50 AM, Whirlguy wrote: That was a good read, looking forward to "Everything, by Everyone, Everywhere.txt". I think you can be proud of what you achieved here Tom. Especially interesting to me is how internet and technology thwarted your plans, as well as the ad monopoly run by google. It's a crying shame you've had to postpone so many of these amazing things in order to fix a leaking ship. If you don't mind me asking, how come you never saw this coming?

I had written some other thoughts in the original version of my post but I went past our post length limit so I edited it down. One thing I mentioned was, quoting this article, "Facebook and Google captured 77 per cent of US digital ad spending last year, up from 72 per cent in 2015, according to a recent analysis of data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau by Pivotal Research Group."

That's really messed up to think the rest of the internet is fighting over the remaining 23 percent of ad spending. Regardless I've grown completely sick of trying to make ads work, which is why I really want the supporter system to succeed.

As far as seeing it coming, I don't think it was a matter of not seeing it coming, it was more a matter of figuring out how to respond with the resources available. For example the iPhone launched in 2007 and the app store launched in mid 2008, so iPhone hadn't been totally game changing YET but it was clear there was a growing problem for Flash. At the same time we were nowhere near a good Flash alternative for web games. The 2012 redesign did make a note to remove the word "Flash" site-wide, so it would be clear NG wasn't just a "Flash" site like so many people saw it.

The 2012 redesign was an opportunity to go mobile friendly but if we HAD done something mobile friendly that launched in 2012, it would be a horrible mess now and would need to be completely replaced. Nothing mobile friendly from that time has actually held up very well and mobile standards have changed a lot - our ongoing update takes advantage of a lot of technologies that weren't available at that time.

I know a big failing is that we still haven't released mobile apps and that has been on ongoing resource concern. A native mobile app needs to be built from the ground up and needs to be maintained. For example I developed an NG Roku app years ago but it was recently removed due to a sunset of their old SDK - I don't have time to redo our Roku app while also developing Nightmare Cops and managing NG.

The goal remains to release mobile apps that are more integrated with our in-progress mobile friendly site, so there is just one codebase to maintain vs runaway native apps.

I already knew the tide was turning in 2009 but I kept it private for a long time. You hope that people will rally when they hear things are tough but in reality it just hurts morale and makes a lot of people go looking for their own Plan B. Most companies play "fake it 'till you make it" and it generally works but those same companies don't really hesitate to shut down completely when the VC money runs out, whereas I intend to keep NG running in whatever form possible for as long as possible.

Also if we could have finished Nightmare Cops in three years that would have been pretty amazing and NG would be reaping huge benefits right now. Alas it's not a three year game but we're getting there.


Nightmare Cops, the game JohnnyUtah, Spazkid and I have been working on.

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 09:52:17 Reply

At 6/22/17 07:41 AM, Hyptosis wrote: I feel like I came to NG and got into Flash way too late. Just as everything seemed to be slowing down I started making stuff and learning the ropes. NG is still great and I check it out once a day if I can. I wish I still had time to make content to share here, or anywhere for that matter. Life beats you the fuck down, it's worked me over good the last few years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR3ccmWmLhk

I'm just glad NG is still here, and I defend it at every chance. It has a special place in my heart.

Thanks for doing what you could when you did! Guys like you and @deathink really kept me motivated through some dark years. It's hard to work on something every day when you feel like people don't care about it anymore, so it really goes a long way when people express their enthusiasm for the site.


Nightmare Cops, the game JohnnyUtah, Spazkid and I have been working on.

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 09:55:59 Reply

At 6/22/17 08:50 AM, TheEnkian wrote: I hope the alpha system and bug testing features end up coming out, they'd be very useful. Is there a rough ETA on that Tom or is it too subject to change?

There's no ETA on that at the moment due to all the other work that is in progress. I'd like to re-visit the New Game Wednesday concept even if we can't sponsor a game every week - I imagine we could still totally boost a cool new game each week. Would be especially cool if the game of the week could feature a supporter perk, too. The hope had been to have a whole calendar of scheduled releases, using the publishing system to launch them at consistent times. In the earlier years I used to do midnight releases for some of my new games and it was always fun to have a ton of people turn out to respond to the launch.


Nightmare Cops, the game JohnnyUtah, Spazkid and I have been working on.

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Response to Vision.txt 2017-06-22 14:39:00 Reply

Hey Tom,

I can understand that you dont feel too happy about how the way people play games has shifted and I cant even begin to imagine the amounts of work you have put into this website.

I came here in 2014, when I was looking for a place to host one of my earliest games (which got blammed, if i recall correctly), so I was not around for the olden days of newgrounds.

And even though newgrounds is not what you hoped it would be, it is still an incredibly good website.
It has helped me to motivate myself to make games. It has accepted almost everything I made, it has made me realise that people played my stuff and some of the feedback has resonated deeply with me, helping me to make better stuff in the future.

Thanks to newgrounds I found the confidence to join local game dev communities, hold talks and exhibit my games at a conference.
I made friends, played so many incrediby innovative games and have basically found a bunch of people who appreciate the things I labour so hard over because they also labour so hard over their own things.

Your website was the driving factor for me to continue making games back in 2014 and I wanted to thank you and everyone else who works on this piece of internet for inviting a big bunch of people into the woderfull world of making and sharing their games and movies and tentacle porn.

(in terms of making newgrounds a driving force in the world of games again, I would like to propose the approach of a mix between portal and publisher, where games that do well on the portal could get sponsorships to make bigger & better versions of that game with newgrounds branding, each game getting a marketing push on the back of newgrounds reputation on release. A lot of reviwers know newgrounds, and the comback as publisher could, if marketed right, get a lot of industry attention and would probably drive a lot of developers to publish on newgrounds again, hoping for a publishing deal of some sorts, resulting in more games and better games and therefore resulting in more traffic.

I dont know if this is something you would like your platform to turn into, but it is a possibility I see.
Come to think of it, you guys probably already discussed that at some point ^^)