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Lucas Paakh @Kajenx

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Kajenx's News

Posted by Kajenx - December 30th, 2007


Here's the latest interview from my Blog.

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Eighteen-year-old Josiah "Jazza" Brooks, creator of the Paladin series, has been animating since his first year of high school. Now, with five successful episodes and a game under his belt, he's ready to move on to new storylines and accomplishments. Here's how he got started and what he hopes for the future.

"After a school assignment to animate in power point, I was obsessed. Then a friend showed me flash and I haven't looked back since. I began submitting to sticksuicide.com until I discovered Newgrounds. NG was much harsher to win over the vast audience but after four or so years, I think I've gotten to a reasonable stage. :)"

After high school, Brooks has been able to make decent money doing what he loves, "I currently have the best amateur job in the world; graduated school last year and now I animate full time! I love it. I don't make BIG bucks, but enough to get by living at home with my parents XD lol. I have only been to high school, no college education so far. I plan to do some director's courses."

Brooks says that, while he enjoyed working on the series, he's glad he can move on to other storylines and ideas, "I was glad to move on from paladin and bring closure to it. Truth be told I sort of trapped myself by starting off with such a cliché plot. I tried desperately to worm out of it though the series and can only hope I improved the story. In the beginning I had no idea what would happen beyond the first episode! For the earlier episodes I came up with the story at the beginning of each episodes production. In the final 2 (4+5) I had it all planned and storyboarded."

"I think I'll give paladin a break for now. I DO have a really epic story for another time that uses the paladin story as a prologue of sorts, but I need to explore more genres and gain more experience before I try to push the same theme/genre again."

Paladin, the Game was a major achievement, and Brooks says his partner, Moonkey, was a driving force towards its completion, "I couldn't have asked for a better workmate! He's INCREDIBLE and we've overcome some massive obstacles in making the game, but I think it paid off. We both had so much fun bringing the Paladin game about we're already starting work on another game! (Completely different story and style to paladin.)"

As for the future, "I want to be a director, I love bringing things together, every piece of a work from music to credits. I think that's my passion more then animating, as animating has been my only available means to do so! I love telling stories. In ten years I see myself building a career directing. I know it'll be hard, but it's the kind of thing where I wont stop when it gets hard coz it just feels right for me... I might come back to animation one day, I've always had a soft spot for it."

Brooks leaves us with this thought, "The only thing I can encourage aspiring storytellers to do is practice every medium and explore your niche for means of expression and storytelling. My art teacher told me once that there's no point doing something unless it brings a positive message, so if you do this sort of thing for a living try and make it effect others for the better. I'm still working on it. :P"

*************

Check out the www.popethos.net news section for more interviews!


Posted by Kajenx - November 28th, 2007


Here's the latest story from Pop Ethos. I've recently added an arcade, so if you'd like to see your game there let me know!

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Strategy Game-maker Dmitry

Self taught programmer, and long time Flash enthusiast, twenty-two-year-old Russian Dmitry is well known for his creations. With a few widespread hits like Momentum Missile Mayhem, Quadrobarrel Defense, and StarCraft Flash Action, his place in the flash hall of fame has already been secured. He started flash when he was fifteen, but says his career in the flash industry didn't become serious until he released his first game.

"My first game was based on StarCraft sprites since I couldn't draw my own graphics. I called it StarCraft Flash Action (StarCraft FA) and it was released on newgrounds.com back in 2004. The game was relatively successful (I won daily feature) and that inspired me to go on. Next year I finished my first big project - StarCraft FA3, a tower defense game inspired by similar maps in WarCraft 3. The game scored quite well and I was offered a sponsorship by Armor Games (they had a different name back then). So from this moment I could get paid for making games, it was a very good motivation to keep working."

"At some point I realized that I had to stop using copyrighted graphics and names and move on to something I could really call my OWN game, so I found an artist. The first game we made together was Quadrobarrel Defense."

Dmitry says it's his own drive to create, and not the money, that keeps him going, "I enjoy making flash games so it's an entertainment for me. I'm working with an artist now so I don't need to steal sprites and textures any more. As for sounds - I have a HUGE library composed from various sources. :P"

"I can't really tell how long it took me to make any of my games since I don't work on them every day. Sometimes I get bored with the project or have some IRL problems and forget about flash for weeks and even months. Making games is not a job for me, its entertainment. (Although it is well paid. :P) If I start taking it as a job, just a way to earn money, I would not be enjoying it and would not make games that I like."

You wouldn't guess by the quality of his games, but Dmitry has had to learn as he goes. "I made my first games with almost no knowledge of Action Script. All the movements in SCFA 1 to 3 are based on Motion Tweens. There's nothing but hittests, IF's, and lots of variables. I improved a bit by the time I started working on SCFA5 but still did not know the basics of AS programming. There are no cycles, no functions..."

"By the time I finished Quadrobarrel Defense I realized that to move on to my next projects I had to learn something - so I bought a book. 'Macromedia Flash MX Game Design Demystified' by Jobe Makar. It is the best book about flash gamemaking in existence. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to make flash games. It requires some basic knowledge of programming in action script and general flash though."

As for the future, "My main goal at the moment is to improve my programming skills. And that can only be done by practice. I have a lot of projects in mind and the only thing that stands in the way is my lack of experience. As for whether I will or wont be making flash games in several years from now - I don't know. But I do know that I will be making something, I like to create. =)"

Be sure to check out Dmitry's Newgrounds Userpage!


Posted by Kajenx - November 20th, 2007


Here's the latest article from Pop Ethos!

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Old School Meets New Wave

Nineteen-year-old Wisconsinite Grey Gerling isn't your typical flash animator. Exploding onto the flash scene just this year, introducing an interesting new style, he has already released 10 shorts and earned numerous awards for his work. Let's see how he got started.

"I'm a late comer to the flash community, I only got involved with it in the last year. I was always fascinated with animation since I was 5 or 6 really, things like Liquid TV rubbed off on me at that age and very probably set me on this course. I dabbled a lot with very primitive things when I was younger, but only picked it up seriously after the awfulness of film school drove me to teach myself how to animate in order to stay sane/survive there."

The main thing that sets his animations apart is his use of traditional art materials rather than digital vectors. Gerling says this evolved from a technical limitation, rather than any conscious decision. "Lack of access to technology when I was young and the fact that I'm rubbish with computers (save for editing software and some very basic knowledge of Flash). The advantage of paper, personally, is the freedom it grants me as I can't draw with computers to save my life, plus I'm not crazy about how my stuff looks done digitally. The main disadvantage here being the ungodly amount of time it takes to do everything by hand. But I find the commitment extremely rewarding in the end."

Gerling hopes to make a decent living from his work someday, but at the moment supports his schooling in other ways, "I'm employed at an office/work study job through the school, but in actuality, I spend all my time at the office working on various animation projects of my own rather than actually do any company work. Hooray! It's almost like I'm getting paid to animate."

"When I graduate (or sooner) I really want to start living off of my work, much the way HomestarRunner and others have done. I honestly want to be doing this the rest of my life. It was sort of my ambition from the very start, and nothing else gives me the satisfaction animating does."

And he's certainly on his way. Just recently Gerling revamped his website, and has plans for future additions. "It wasn't a huge change, but now everything is prettier and more detailed than it was before. I'll definitely be adding much more to the site including a games page, more content, better designs for certain pages, etc."

Gerling leaves us with this final thought. "I'd really like to thank Danielle for always encouraging me and for constantly believing in me. Also thanks to Patrick, Sulek, and Mike for supplying me with awesome tunes...In terms of advice, the surefire way to get out there and succeed is to be original and go with your gut. If something is heading in the right direction, you'll just know if you listen to your instincts. Don't let anyone else drag you down. And practice! Lots."

Be sure to check out Grey Gerling's website and Newgrounds userpage.

********

Also visit Pop Ethos for more internet news!


Posted by Kajenx - October 17th, 2007


Here's the latest article from Pop Ethos. Check the site for a bunch of other interviews including jmbt02, The-EXP (Indestructotank), and Riftmaster (Badlands series)!

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After mainly talking with artists and flash designers these last few months, I was really excited to finally get in touch with a musician! Eighteen-year-old Norwegian Christian M., a.k.a. Waterflame, has been writing music since he was twelve. One quick listen to any of his tracks will prove his experience, but how did he get started?

"I don't really know for sure where the inspiration or fascination came from, but my first encounter with music production was with a really old Mac program I don't even remember the name of. I was about 12 years old then I think. Later I tried a demo to the Sony Playsation 1, Music 2000. I started playing around with it and I noticed there was a riff editor, which basically allowed you to make your own songs and even sounds from scratch. Later I got the full version of the game/program and I started to compose music there. Songs like "Thunderzone" and "Corkspin" here on Newgrounds were originally composed there."

Christian eventually moved from his Playstation to his computer to utilize a more professional array of tools, "Now I use Fruityloops 5, Acid, and I'm currently learning Milkytracker. Most of my sounds are taken from Soundfonts, free sounds from Internet, or made by me, either from a pure wave sound or something I record with the microphone."

"As for the work process, it varies a lot. Sometimes I just start with inspiration or just the feeling of wanting to make something. Then just play around and see what emerges. Other times I have a melody I've been thinking about that I nail down soon as I get home, and work on it later. But most of the time, I have the mood planed out and the rest comes flowing. For instance, if I feel kinda gloomy one day, and the weather outside feels the same, something like my song "Gray Morning" might come out. My music is mostly driven by my feelings."

Christian hopes someday to work in the music industry, but doesn't see that as a possibility yet, "To release a CD would be one of my small dreams. But since I don't play at any clubs or places in my hometown, and people outside Newgrounds don't really know of me, I don't think of it as an option just yet. I'm afraid it would have turned out bad. Simply cause I lack the reputation, not necessary the skill. And to be honest, I don't really know where to go from here."

Even so, he has his foot in the door, "I work for a small software company called Nibbo. They make kid's games in Mexico, and I make most of the music tracks and sound effects for the projects they work on. They only do one project a year more or less, so it's not something I can live off at all, but its fun to be a part of it, and I do make some money off it."

One of the things that impressed me was the range of styles he'd touched on and some of the great original sounds he had come up with, "I try to blend and mix styles. Since I started off learning about music on my own, and never had any lessons of any kind, I constantly bend the rules of genres a little and come up with new ideas. I personally think break-beat is fascinating, since the beat and rhythm is so alive, and controls the whole song. Compared to other genres, in this one, the drums control the bass and melody outcome, not the other way around, like it is usually done. I also generally just like the sound of it."

"Apart from that, I also enjoy orchestral and classical music, which I would say, almost speaks for itself. But what I really like about it is that it's a genre where the melody controls it all, there is no need for drums, vocals or anything. And the melodies are simply awesome. What I'm trying to do with some of these songs is to get these to genres together and create a new genre. It has been done before, I know, but to me that is the ultimate genre."

Christian just released a new title, "Trainstation Dukeout," which he describes as a techno/breakbeat song mostly containing drums, bass, and chug guitar. I asked him if he had anything big in the works and he said some technical limitations were holding him back at the moment, "I wish I could say yes about the big release, but I just got a new computer, and sadly Fruityloops 7 wont work here for some reason. So until I find a way to fix it I'll use Fruityloops 5. I am constantly working on songs though, and I've made twice as much as I've submitted. I make music at least 1-2 hours a day I think. When I'm not doing things with people that is."

Christian leaves us with this advice, "I would say the most important thing is to try new things, experiment and to always test your limits!"

Be sure to visit his userpage and listen to all the great tracks!


Posted by Kajenx - October 7th, 2007


Err, everyone else is doing it, so why can't I? :D

************

Things were bad; nothing seemed to be working out. I was piled up with homework, my girlfriend was mad at me, and it was two in the morning. I had school tomorrow, and I would probably fall asleep in class again. Not that it mattered, I was failing everything anyway, so I probably didn't have a chance for redemption.

As I sat there, staring at my math book with blurry vision, the weight in my stomach seemed to get a little heavier when I realized I had missed band practice again. The guys probably didn't expect me anymore, though. I hadn't made it to the last few, and they told me they were auditioning new singers.

I closed my book and just stared at my knees for a while. Why did life have to be so complicated? Why didn't I have time for anything? I always tell myself I'm going shape up; I always promise myself that I'll do better, but it never happens.

With a sigh, I looked through my slightly open window. I needed to clear my head.

I got up quietly, and walked down the hall to the front door. Listening attentively for sounds from my parent's bedroom, I unlocked the door and slipped through a small crack, closing it softly behind me.

It was fall, and cool. A slight breeze rustled the leaves at my feet, and, enjoying the soft crunch of my footsteps, I walked around the house and into my backyard. It was a full moon, but there were clouds, so everything had a soft gray lighting. A slight fog poked its icy fingers through the holes in my favorite hoodie and I shivered slightly. The weight in my stomach was gone and long forgotten, along with reality.

I settled down next to a large willow tree and leaned against the trunk, wrapping my arms around my knees. Peering into the deep forest behind my house, I realized I could stay in that moment forever.

A part of me never left.


Posted by Kajenx - September 25th, 2007


Hey, I posted a thread about this in the general forum, so I hope I'm not spamming...

Anyhoo, my new casual news site is finally up and running and it has some great interviews: Brad Borne, Adam Phillips, IvoryDrive, Leafworthy.

You can visit the site at www.popethos.net.

I'm hoping to have daily updates with my findings, but I'd like to get at least two real interviews a week too. So if you have any ideas for the site, or know someone you'd like to see interviewed, let me know!


Posted by Kajenx - August 31st, 2007


Hey everyone, I just released my newest game. I'm pretty proud of this one, even though it's a fairly simple game. Let me know what you think!


Posted by Kajenx - August 24th, 2007


Extreme Particle Suite and Quickling have been released on Newgrounds! Everyone check them out!


Posted by Kajenx - July 17th, 2007


This is great! Nothing like redesign hype to make your day brighter, eh?

I've got two great games coming to Newgrounds pretty quick here. Right now they're MoFunZone exclusive, but once they're up I'll be excited to see your comments!

That's it for now!

-Luke