Interview No. 22
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest has been here previously. He was my first guest, but looking back at that interview I wasn't completely happy with it. So I decided to interview him a second time. Again most answers to these questions can be found in the Literature section, which is now the Newgrounds Wiki. He is the founder, creator, and chairman of Newgrounds. He is once again @TomFulp.
Q: Newgrounds has become place for many animators, musicians, writers, and voice actors to share their works with the world and garner criticism through a review system. What other expansions are expected to be launched in the future and could you tell us about them?
A: Once we finish our wide layout update, the Audio Portal is expected to get a long overdue revamp. It will be built from the same framework as the Art Portal but with some unique tweaks and features. Both Portals will gain multi-author capabilities. When THAT is done we'll tackle the Writing Portal, at which point NG will have finally arrived at a goal that has somehow taken almost a decade. Meanwhile other expansions and changes to existing areas will be happening simultaneously. Those will remain a surprise though!
Q: Your first flash on record through your flash submissions page is entitled Crazy Belmont. What was the process in creating this flash game and are you still proud of it to this day?
A: Crazy Belmont isn't actually anywhere near my first Flash game, it's just the first one I submitted to the automated Portal. Before then, all my games were in hard-coded pages and I gradually moved them into the automated system over the years. I regret not launching with them all in place and properly dated. My first Flash game was Sink Leonardo, which doesn't even exist outside of Dumping Grounds anymore. Most of my original games got "misplaced" when we launched the 2007 redesign and I don't even think I have all the files anymore.
Q: Newgrounds has had some flash submissions through here talking about a website that a lot of people don't like and that's Ebaums World.com. Could you tell us your experiences as well as your opinions on said website?
A: EbaumsWorld.com was just one of a number of sites that regularly stole content from NG, but they got an extra nasty reputation because they would also steal pictures and video from sites and add their watermark. I guess Eric got the last laugh though because him and his dad sold Ebaumsworld for $17.5 million. The site stopped being relevant at that point; it should just die.
Q: When it comes to the Audio Portal, I as well as a few other people believe it hasn't gotten enough attention. When it comes to redesigns or facelifts what can we expect the Audio Portal to turn into?
A: There is a massive laundry list of Audio Portal ideas and I won't even touch on some of the higher level ones until we address the more immediate issues. Current priorities include a much better moderator system so stolen music is dealt with quickly and easily, a better review process where the community is more involved with bringing new artists through (a more private version of the Art Portal scouting), audio tagging, expanded sorting and search and hopefully we'll get to "play all" and playlist features this time around.
Q: I have interviewed Krinkels in the past and asked him about Madness Day. He did not really know how this holiday was created, but perhaps you can tell us how this holiday came about and how you come up with other holidays.
A: Ya know, I don't remember exactly how it came about either but I did pick out the date based on an empty slot in the calendar between events like Pico Day, Clock Day and Halloween. I think users were asking for it, and Madness was generating way more tribute-Flash than any other series on NG, so we thought it would make a fun event day. I also like trying to make a Madness game every year now.
Q: You've stated time and time again that you hate February. Why?
A: It has to be seasonal affective disorder. Or it could be a pattern of expectations. In December I'm excited about what we intend to wrap up by the end of the year. In January I'm excited about the leftover stuff we're yet to launch and the plans for a new year ahead. By February the reality sets in that some things are just taking a lot longer than expected, and now we're in the dead of winter, slogging through one day at a time. I can't completely blame NG though because I've been depressed every February for my whole life.
Q: When it comes to the Newgrounds Trophies. How do these awards work? How are the nominees, judges, and winners chosen?
A: The nominees for movies and games are chosen from monthly winners, contest winners and a handful of staff selections. The musician of the year is guided by recommendations from the Audio mods but we haven't ever had a formal vote. The user of the year has also been a gut move and I think we picked the right people for the past two years, but this year is especially hard because I'd like to avoid repeats and there are a lot of people who have been great this year, but I'm not sure if one of them stands above the rest yet. We need to decide that really soon.
Q: YouTube is the biggest video site out there, where people can upload their videos, short films, or comedy shows. However some of those are shunned by copyrighted material and other stupid nonsense. Does Newgrounds plan on opening a Video Portal in the near future so those interested in film may upload thier works?
A: We will support video, but it will be on an invite-only basis as I would like to keep the focus on animation and maintain a high quality standard. I'm also open to non-animated works by popular artists, although I would prefer if some sort of animation is still involved... For example live action mixed with CG. Don't think of it as a video portal, though... Think of it as MOVIES and GAMES not sharing a room anymore.
Q: A lot of people have been wanting the Newgrounds Chat. The Newgrounds Chat used to be a reality back in 2002 am I right? Where did it go and why hasn't it come back?
A: The old NG chat didn't actually integrate with our user system, so people could fake popular artists all the time and when the real guys walked in, people assumed they were fake. The moderation also felt particularly cliquy and downright hostile towards NG at times, so the whole thing got canned. The new chat is based on a multi-user server platform PsychoGoldfish has been developing, but other projects have had priority. Some day it will magically return and the new chat app is pretty damn neat... Although it will have to be visually redesigned by then.
Q: When it comes to the media, whether or not they say good or bad things about Newgrounds. How do you feel about it and what is your responses to it?
A: I don't appreciate the righteous indignation of the media. Namely, why is it ok for a news site to front page The Torture Game but not ok for me? Aren't we both just shoving it in peoples' faces? Sure, I could choose not to host it, but the game was made, it exists and will always exist somewhere on the web. The news will find it and encourage people to check it out. Their editorial stance is just a cover; the news craves attention like everyone else.
Q: You and April got married. You and April had a baby boy. To my knowledge you have not announced the child's name, is it out of privacy or do you just not want to tell anyone here? Also what do you think of all the movies and games made about your child?
A: A lot of site regulars know his name, I just haven't tossed it around in the open too much. To satisfy any curiosity, his name is Liam! I probably haven't seen all the movies and games made about him and maybe it's better that way.
Q: Alien Hominid was the first, Castle Crashers took it a step further. Tell me what is your opinion on the independent gaming movement and how do you think it will affect Newgrounds?
A: The whole independent gaming movement is such a big topic to tackle... You got web games, PC downloads, XNA, XBLA, PSN, it goes on and on across multiple communities and social circles. I felt like in the past, Flash devs weren't taken seriously by what was known as the indie gaming scene, or people who considered themselves "real" game developers, but all that is changing, everything is converging and mixing together. It means the games will keep getting better but there will also be more commercialization. Major publishers are scooping up indie titles for consoles and investors are dropping millions on companies that want a piece of the Flash game market. NG needs to stay competitive to avoid getting steamrolled over, but we also can't lose ourselves and kill the joy.
Q: What can we expect from Tom Fulp in the near future?
A: I don't even know sometimes because every game I work on keeps getting further and further from being done. Right now I'm juggling three games that I realistically intend to finish and I need to pull together a fourth for Madness Day. Beyond that I want to host more events at the office in our almost-newly-renovated first floor. I'm thinking stuff like an animation festival and a 48 hour game jam.
You know, there really isn't much left to be said about Tom. He's a goof ball who made a website. And from there it has grown into nothing short than a website where many creative minds can get together and show off their works. I wouldn't be surprised if the next thing on Tom's list would be to open a school.