1st February 2015 - The End Game

So, it's time I close up shop. It's been more than 2 years since I last updated RGZ - but I love the girl too much to simply let her die and be forgotten, vanishing from the internet all together. Thanks to some very kind people over at The VG Resource the site will stay online for people to enjoy but mostly - just as a reminder to myself of all the great times I've had doing this. This site has been a huge part of my life and I've met some great people because of it. Dazz, the late N-Finity, WaxPoetic, all the truly amazing people at the Captain N Forums back in the day (Stewie_for_gov, Nessa Mouse, Flash [I think... the blue and yellow MegaMan guy]) - so many names have escaped me but I hope you are all doing well. Seriously the fun I had on those forums still makes me smile and I miss those days greatly. But most of all it's Locke_gb7 who I am most thankful for meeting. Having shared countless good times and pretty much being like a brother during the heyday of the site - he has become a truly good friend.

The first sprite site I ever heavily used was The Shyguy Kingdom. It was huge, organised and everything looked perfect. Now, tSR (The Spriter's Resource) is easily the better site. But back in the day with there organised by "company" oddness, giant "credit tags" on the sprite sheets and just general attitude of quantity over quality, TSGK was king. I was just a kid using the sprites to make games in The Games Factory and TSGK seemed to have everything. That is, of course, until I wanted to make a Wacky Races game using the sprites from the NES game. TSGK didn't have those, tSR didn't and a small site I stumbled across called NES-SNES-Sprites didn't either, hell they didn't even have complete sheets, just the odd frame/sprite of things. The whole internet didn't have them. So it was with that which led me to capture my first sprites. Sprites from a game the rest of the world didn't seem to care about. Afterwards I submitted them to TSGK and NES-SNES-Sprites. They were accepted - and seeing my work on the internet made me feel a huge sense of pride - I was hooked.

Me and Locke_gb7 from NES-SNES-Sprites started to talk, talk a lot. He changed from doing odd sprites and doing full complete sheets. We partnered up, worked together, challenged each other. RetroGameZone, if I recall correctly went online 1st January 2003. That's 12 years ago - I was 13/14 at the time and was full of excitement. We were like 2 best friends on an adventure. After I learnt that some MegaMan sprites I accepted from a submission were lifted from Sprites Inc I was devastated, not only had stolen work been displayed on my site but now I felt I was missing content. And then Locke_gb7 steps in - like a madman he replaces all the stolen sprites with his own, working hours to capture them all. He even found sprites that Sprites Inc (which specialises in MegaMan sprites) themselves didn't have. I was amazed. Me and Locke_gb7 was pushing content out like something obsessed. 

Having N-Finity accept my work made me feel fantastic. I saw the man as a mentor and his approval meant the world. I became an active member at the forums there (The Captain N Forums - as TSGK was part of the Captain N Network) having a fantastic time. I loved the people there, it was amazing - a true community. It felt like I was hanging with my best friends just talking crap about videogames and making sprite comics (which were all the rage back then).  I had also become an active member at the tSR forums submitting some work there and generally having a good time. And then everything changed. N-Finity passed away...

10 February 2007 CE):

pchan koko. It pains me to be the bearer of bad news to all those who have yet to hear. But last week Webster, creator of CaptainN.net and my dearly beloved, passed away suddenly. He was only 22, but he touched our lives so deeply.

I can't begin to describe my pain and sadness, but that's not to say that of others is any less. So many people were touched by his life and his way. So many lives were changed by him. It's most traumatic of all that it is so suddenly that he is taken from us, at least from this physical plane. But he will always be with us. He's just a thought away, a short distance indeed. He's always with us.

If any of you would like to give your condolences, there is a forum thread that you can post to, or you can come into our IRC channel. Just click the IRC button on the site's navigation to the left and navigate to us. You can use an IRC client or our java client. We'd be happy to receive you. Last but not least, if you have a personal tribute that you would like to present for us to post on this site, in a tribute coming soon, please mail with it. You can alternatively present it on the forum, as we will provide a link to the thread during the tribute. We are trying to assemble a suitable tribute at a place that was and is and always will be home to the one I call webbychan.

As he would say, be well.

[The Announcement of N-Finity's death on CaptainN.net, though I had heard before on the forums]

Reading it now still breaks my heart, and makes me feel a bit sick with grief. I was devastated. The community was devastated. TSGK fell silent. As a community we tried to stand strong, to endure, to carry on the flame, but as weeks turned to months, and months to years the lack of new members started to take it's toll. The community was dying. I really didn't want TSGK to die. I knew I could never fill N-Finity's shoes but I wanted to keep the show on the road, to not let him down. I started talking heavily with WaxPoetic, time zones made it tough and we constantly ran into problems. The program used to organise the sprite sheets wouldn't work, at all, for me. But it didn't matter, I would do it manually, or at least be able to update the site with sheets that had already been processed. On 28th February 2009 I was a staff member at TSGK. I was so honoured and posted my first test update. Things didn't go well. Not only couldn't I get my avatar to work during the update but me being added to the system seemed to cause havoc. The things is, no one really knew how the site worked. We tried, and we tried. But me and Wax knew that as much as we loved N-Finity and TSGK, we weren't going to get anywhere. After much talking we came to our decision, tSR would be the home of TSGK's content - so that it may be seen, used and enjoyed by as many people as possible.

News, news, news.

posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 by WaxPoetic

For those of you wondering about the sudden movement and then the sudden lack of movement, explanations are in order. Explanations that are, perhaps, site altering.

For the last two years we've been struggling to keep things moving around here. Every time we just about recover, something goes wrong. Like Goemar joining which somehow caused site-wide interior glitches (through no fault of his own) even though it shouldn't have been a problem.

As a testament to Web's coding skills - I asked a friend of mine who, like Web, has been coding since she first found the internet - and she said that much of the code shouldn't function at all. Bizarre little tricks and coding done in ways that are considered not to be done due to the dangers inherent. What she was saying was, Web was a freaking genius. (We all knew this to be true.)

After much talking between this sites' admin and a certain others, new plans have unfolded.

TSGK is not 'closing,' it is changing. This front page will (in time) be replaced with a new site, a new TSGK which will serve as the new front page home of the N-Fans and the comics portal which once existed on Captainn.net.

The content will remain here as a sort of open-source testament to what Web could do, it will simply not be the first thing you see.

As for new content? We're in the process of (very) slowly sending over everything to our long-standing friends (even if the members didn't know it) at TSR.

So, without further adieu, http://spriters-resource.com/ shall be the new home of TSGK content and updates.

Perhaps someday we'll be able to reinvent the TSGK sprite site again with a new toolset and a new Captain to pilot this vessel. In the meantime, we're going to hand the reigns to someone more capable (Dazz over at TSR) and turn this site into something Web would still be proud of!

As I said, TSGK's sprite website will remain as a moment to Web. (But please stop submitting stuff!)

[Wax's public announcement of TSGK's decision for content to be 'absorbed' by tSR]

However, like an idiot, I (who was an active member on tSR's forum by this point) decided to post it the day after, on 1st April aka - April Fools Day. It, erm... didn't go down to well at first...  Still it was something. And I felt it was the right thing to do, and I still do.

Things carried on, me and Locke_gb7 would talk for hours while spriting, I would submit a sheet to tSR every now and again (with a nice big RetroGameZone tag in it for advertising) and the world kept spinning. I moved to York, loosing my internet (I managed to sponge from a neighbour's insecure network occasionally) which slowed things down but I was still spriting, and still talking to Locke_gb7. And then around the 9th September 2012 - I got a job. A job, and a "outside the internet" social life. I still kept at it for a while but it was becoming more and more clear that I didn't have time for it. As much as I loved spriting it was in essence, a job. I still had my relaxation time of watching TV, playing videogames, reading etc. - and it was just impossible to find time for it between that and work. It was the end of my carefree life as a jobless man who lived online.

I still love videogames. I still love sprites, and I love this site so so much. I spent years creating it, it is truly precious to me. I hope one day to start spriting again, to see more of my work on tSR. To finish ripping DarkStalkers, and showing more of the amazing sprites from the Metal Slug series. Those 2D pixel pieces of art are just so, so beautiful. So, I'll still be around. Probably on the VG-Resource Forums (what the tSR forums have become) moaning about Nintendo and giving bad life advice. And if any of you old Captain N Forum people are still around - shoot me an email, I would love to hear from all of you.

I don't know how many of these "I'm back messages" I've made so far, but well here's another one.

Anyone who's been even slightly following my life knows things went, well, pretty bad. In one way it's amazing to see how strong the human soul is, on another it's nearly impossible to even conceive how hard a person can fall and just how cruel people can seem to be - and your brain nearly ripping itself apart to try and understand the logic.

I've made mistakes, I've handled things badly at times, but I feel I'm in a good place again. I'm not a perfect person, my morals aren't golden - but they are a part of me. I can't chisel myself into a perfect image and I've accepted I'm not going to be the 'self' I was before all this, things have changed.

And well, I miss you guys, I've distanced myself from a lot of people, a self created void, ignoring the help offered and excluding many of the people who mean the most to me. I miss Dazz. Finally had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife not too long ago (well, probably a while ago now) and I have to say I was nervous. Not because he's famous or any of that nonsense (hey man, you was just a kid when I got started Wink ) but it's always weird when you first meet someone you've known online for so long. But it was great, it was just him, as I knew him, and we talked as if we'd met in the pub every weekend.

I've tried ripping sprites again, and well, I just don't think it's going to happen. I just don't have the time. After work it's just not what I want to do now. During the education/unemployment years it was fine, it was kinda like work, sure I enjoyed it but I no longer have time for it and my hobbies or just relaxing time. I hope during a week off or something I'll get some time to get DarkStalkers finished but well, even that's up in the air.

Which brings me onto the other news. I haven't touched my website since the 9/9/12 - that's more than 2 years. Yeah I know I wasn't the biggest, the best, hell some of my sheets have been far eclipsed by others now. But they mean a lot to me. I generally get nostalgic and happy just looking at them because I remember the work that went into them, the excitement of finishing them, and the joy of seeing them online. Working together with my good friend Locke_gb7 of Nes-Snes-Sprites just filled so many years of great times, I just have so many good memories, so many laughs. It's been a pleasure, a real pleasure.

From seeing Dazz as a troubled kid with some serious demons, to becoming pretty much "the" sprite guy was something great to be apart of, great to witness. No it may not mean a lot to many, thousands won't know where that Metal Slug sprite in RetroGamer UK came from, 100s won't know who ripped the sprites for that stupid Flash animation of "Link, He goes to Town" - but we were there, offering a surface, playing with tools and pouring in hours of our lives just to archive the graphics of the game we enjoyed so much, for others to use or for simply viewing pleasure so people can appreciate them. You never appreciate a waterfall until you can hear it, and you can never appreciate a sprite fully until you've seen it frame by frame.

So yeah, I'll miss it. But it's time to hang it up. Dazz, it's yours. All the content that says "Ripped by Goemar" at the bottom of the page is yours for tSR. I won't be renewing my hosting. I started this thing on the 1st January 2003. It was never a business, I never wanted to expand it. It was just my thing. Well, mine and Locke_gb7's thing - we were two best friends just loving what we did. It was like our own personal clubhouse.

I'm sorry about the long post, for those who don't get excited by the fact that when punching someone close as oppose to further away has 5 different frames of animation - a lot of this probably means very little. But I'm back. No doubt everyone has changed there usernames (again) but well, I'm sure I'll get everyone placed eventually.

I used to love having this place as part of my life, I hope to do that again.

[My very soppy announcement of the end of RGZ over at the VG Resource forums]

Below are some of the game I had the fondest memories of ripping. Either through because of how beautiful the sprites were, the challenge faced, or just the fun I had doing them.

As N-Finity would say, be well.

- Goemar (Richard Ashmore)