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This week's interview features the user Cyberdevil.
When did you find Newgrounds and why did you join? Why did you choose the username Cyberdevil?
"My earliest memories of Newgrounds are a blur. I don't know how or through who, if anyone, I managed to stumble upon this creative oasis, but I do know it happened late 2003. At the time I was new to the net and hungry on exploring so I signed up at all kinds of shady forums and entertainment portals, most of which have disappeared over the years. Flash was a big thing back then and there were plenty of alternatives like Flipsided,Flash-Graphique, Musty Windows, Zellomesh and Smosh (all with a portal of their own) that I also signed up for. I didn't have any previous experience with making flash, or music, or photoshops, or webdesign but I started learning all the arts simultaneously. It was all new ground, and a lot of fun!
I'd like to say my username has some underlying message or meaning, but it was just the first thing I thought of that sounded cool when I was asked for a username. I'm also a big fan of Doom, so you could say it's a play with the Cyberdemon (a vicious cybernetic beast with rocket launchers for arms) from that game. Devil > Demon. Looking back, it's a good choice considering how much time I spend online, and it's not exclusive to NG, I use it everywhere."
Do you think that you changed over the time you were here, as user, or also in real life?
"I've been here for almost a decade, so of course I've changed, both here and in real life. When I look back at old forum posts and reviews it looks like I've improved from all angles, in grammar, in manners, even my knowledge of the net. Back then I couldn't even find Doom sprites through Google! I was a shame to my name. ;) In real life I've gone through middle school, high school, collage, and now I'm studying at a few different universities at a distance (Creative Writing & Web-design). It's a constant evolution!"
Are there any other users that you like, and how do they affect you?
"I like a lot of users on NG. Apart from the admins, I've always looked up to XwaynecoltX as the top reviewer; also one of the few people who was active at both NewGrounds and RetroGade when that site was still around (an art portal created by Josh Bedn). When I was starting out here all the users who topped the toplists, especially reviewers, were an inspiration. Now there are so many devoted people like Nae and Murray who care for the site and spawn creative ideas that really keep this place alive. There are also a ton of great artists of which I couldn't name just a few, better see my favorites for a more detailed (but far from complete) list of people I like. ;)"
Are there any users that you would consider enemies or that you just don't like?
"I do hold a grudge against whomever hacked my account a few years ago. That was really no fun at all, with years worth of submissions and memories irreversibly purged in just a moment. Aside from him/her/them there's really no one in particular, and I don't consider anyone an enemy."
What is your opinion about the forums? Is there one forum that you prefer? And is there another forum user that you want to see getting interviewed by me?
"Since I returned, after not having commented on more than news for a few years, there are a lot of new faces, and a lot of new trends, and a lot of people I don't remember with post counts above 10k. :) There are also many more categories now than there were earlier, and a lot of dedicated users in each one, helping out, answering questions, giving feedback on creative work. Overall it feels like the userbase has evolved along with the site, even if the General forum is crazy as always. :)
In terms of appearance and function the BBS has always been very refined compared to other forums, with categories that seem carefully selected and related to the site and features that are integrated seamlessly with the layout. The user icons and sigs are all the right size, the amount of links you can use is limited, you can't embed entire galleries or pictures that break the page, and there's no Edit button so users need to think before they post. I've always liked how the lack of features add to the experience, even though it was probably just a missing feature from the start.
Right now I'm mostly active on the general forums and Wi/Ht. I like general because the posting requirements are leisurely compared to the others, and the topics can be about virtually anything, so it's a stimulating and fun place to post things. As for Wi/Ht, helping users is a rewarding task, and that's where all the lists are: the top reviewers, top medal users, the pentalist, the hexalist, the octalist, the list of lists, etcetc. I've liked those lists even before I was in them. :) As for which forum I prefer, I couldn't favor only one. If I had the time I'd like to be on all of them, especially the creative ones. The mobile forum is the only one I wouldn't have anything to contribute to. Interviewees? How about Little-Rena, Nae, Murrayand Earfetish! Off the top of my head."
I guess that you have an opinion about the moderators of Newgrounds. Do you think that they do a great job or not?
"As long as they're not banning me, they're doing OK. ;) Since I haven't been around for the past few years I can't say much about most of the current mods. There are a lot of new faces, but I'm glad many of the old dedicated users seem to have attained such positions. It looks like the current set are made up of users who really care about the community, and it looks like they're taking care of it well. Some of the previous ones were just plain power-hungry and abusive. The current moderation is with moderation."
Would you like to become a moderator on Newgrounds? If so, what kind of moderator?
"It's nothing I strive for, but I wouldn't mind being a mod. :) If so, I'd probably be most suited for reviews or submissions (in any portal). Or icons. Icons I can do."
You were a member before the redesign 2007. Tell me how you experienced Newgrounds back then and what changes you liked about the redesign.
"In 2007 it was more of an upgrade than it was a renovation. The differences before and after the 2012 redesign were much more significant. In 2007, the focus did change from being about 'the problems of the future today' to 'everything by everyone', but the core remained the same. There was still a link to the portal in the main menu. The site was still all about Flash. Even the layout had the same basic structure, though the graphical elements (and probably code) were much improved. It wasn't a makeover that required much readjustment from the users, it was just a huge improvement, and to show for it the site received a surge of new visitors. The forums were flooded with noobs. It was an interesting time, and the batting average and NG Mag disappearing wasn't that big a letdown in the face of all amazing change.
There was also the username lockdown. Prior to the redesign, users were actually able to change their usernames, but since 2007 any such requests have had to go through admins. That didn't affect me, but I remember a lot of users hurrying to change their names while they had the chance. :) As for the new layout I embraced everything about it. The color and theme was the same, yet it was spacier, smoother and overall much easier to use. I still think the main 2007 menu is much better than than the new one, since all options were available at once without having to rely on drop-downs. The levels and badges were probably my favorite change, the number of levels doubling from 30 to 60, along with the amount of auras (from 3 to 6).
The user profiles received custom URLs too, so you could link to them by username instead of user ID. I don't remember if the feature to post news was launched at the same time as the redesign, but that was another great change. All of a sudden users had their own page and an ability to change it as they liked, and since then the new features have just kept popping up! Dumping grounds, art portal, equalizer for audio submissions, eh... other stuff. This place keeps getting better and better. :)"
The redesign happened last year. Tell me what you think about it. What do you like and what is not so good?
"The 2012 redesign was harder to embrace than the previous one, since it wasn't just an improvement. At first I didn't like it at all. The background image was distracting, the glossy buttons were way too flashy, the new gradient of gray was way too dark, and the red underlines that I get from browser spellcheck were hard to see in the bright orange textboxes. The feature to view all submissions by a certain author was also no longer viewable on a submission page, and the mature section was missing, and user stats were no longer featured on the main page of a users profile.
I've gotten used to most of these changes, and grown to like the new layout, but I'll probably never get used to the drop-down menus and the lack of a button that leads directly to the classic portal, even though I cope with them by use of bookmarks. To me drop-down menus are a step in the wrong direction in terms of usability (not to mention how they get in the way of games if you accidentally move the mouse over a button while playing something), and I don't like seeing the classic Portal phased out as the 'main page' of the site in favor of thumbnailed sections, though I understand the reasoning behind the change, and how it'll make NG futureproof if Flash is no longer the main content form of this site in the future. If an option could be included in a user's profile to switch off the drop-downs, and to switch the Games and Movies buttons in the menu with Portal and Submit, then I'd be happy. :)
It's not all negative though. I'm happy with the increase in browsing speed, even though I've been receiving more Internal Server Errors since the redesign, and I'm happy with the simplified reviewing system, and the notifications, and playlists, and the new wiki, chat, calender, emoticons, embedding feature, favorism system and plethora of new features and functions that are constantly being added. :)"
One change that was implemented after the initial redesign is the playlist function. Do you like this feature?
"It's a great feature! When they add the ability to find playlists based on a specific submission title or type and the ability to see how many views a playlist has it will be perfect. :) I don't use the feature much, yet, but it has great potential, for all types of content but especially for audio submissions. Listening to music of a certain genre or artist will be much easier now."
Your recently made the flash game NG BBS Quiz 2012 won a daily award. Are you happy that it got one and can we expect similiar Newgrounds related quizzes in the future?
"It's a first award for both me and Amaranthus so we're definitely happy about it. :) If all goes according to plan there will be another quiz like this one next year, and maybe others along the way. I've been thinking of making some kind of NG related quiz for some time, but never gotten around to it, so maybe I will... get around to it. This one was fun to make, and it was fun seeing what great response it generated. :)"
Apart from making flashes, most users surely heard at least one of your many audio submissions. When did you start making music? Do you consider going back to releasing audio on Newgrounds?
"I've been taking piano and guitar lessons since I was small, but music in digital form was something I didn't get started with until middle school. I remember being introduced to Ejay (a program that allows you to compose tracks with layers of pre-made samples) in music class, and soon after that the company my dad worked for sponsored a special Ejay Dance 3 release of which we were given a bundle. It was a fun and simple way of creating music, and I started experimenting with it just before I joined NG. Since then I've tried various versions of Ejay and some other programs like Sony Acid, Midi Maker and Fruity Loops to make an abundance of sound. Ejay is still a favorite though, it's just so... simple. :D I just recently bought a bundle of old Ejay editions that I'm looking forward to trying out, so you will definitely be hearing more audio from me! Maybe even some vocal work if I can get my hands on a good microphone."
Do you like the audio portal in its current state and what could be improved in your opinion?
"I think the audio portal has improved greatly the past few years. Since the new redesign, it's even possible to view all audio submissions, page by page, a feature that has been missing for a long time. I feel the interface to play music has improved as well, as has the quality of submissions. The fact that most submissions nowadays are uploaded in high quality, with a large filesize, makes for large filesizes in flash submissions. It would be nice if Newgrounds could encode an uploaded submission into different bitrates upon upload, so that you can download either a full-size version for personal listening, or a compressed version for including in flash. Since Flash doesn't support bitrates above 128kbps this would be particularly useful in avoiding any import issues that aspiring artists might have when trying to include an audio track in their work. 64 kbps might be a good alternative to the original bitrate. Other than that I'm impressed at how the Audio Portal has evolved, and how much quality music there is now. Back in the day there was only ParagonX9. :)"
Wandering through your newsposts, I stumbled upon some poems that you wrote. When did start writing poems? Can you share one of your poems with us that you especially like?
"I've written poems since elementary school, I think. Not just poems, but lyrics and short stories, and long stories, and I have a few unfinished books in the works. Just one poem? Hmm, here's a short one:
" I like my life The like of life Was never seen By hungry eyes Eyes like to live I like to give My eyes the right Insight in life "
You have your own blog CyberD where you post news , reviews of movies, your poetry and more. Which movie of the last 5 years impressed you the most?
"Inception. It's the one movie I can't favor enough. There are just no flaws! I've watched the movie a few times and every time I'm amazed at how flawless it is, in narrative, in plot, in soundtrack, in everything. The story is as complex as the filmography is, and it's strange that I like it so much since it's a movie that really doesn't reflect my overall taste of movies at all, nor does it feature any of my favorite actors. Apart from this one exception that supremely bends the rule, I tend to watch a lot of action, especially martial arts. Fight scenes where the actors are also great fighters are the parts of movies I enjoy the most. Anything with someone like Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa, Jet Li, Jacki Chan, Yuen Biao is bound for greatness. :)"
Are you looking forward to the eventually upcoming writing/ literature portal?
Cyberdevil: "Yes I am!"
Every person has secrets. Can you tell one of yours or something else that we didn't know about you yet?
"Well, my secrets are secrets, but as for things you don't know about me yet... did you know that I spend three months living in the wild Northern Norths of Sweden, without access to Internet, without a computer, without even television, and with 23km to the nearest local store... every summer? In 2012 I timbered a woodshed completely by hand, with round timber from trees that had been drying in the sun for a few years. My only tool was an axe and a drill, and it took me three summers to complete. It's a sturdy construction that will hopefully live longer than I will! If you somehow did know that, then... you probably don't know that... I have a comic collection numbering the thousands, that I actually had my own Flash Portal for about a month, that my favorite soda is Cherry Coke, favorite color is Orange (wisdom), favorite number is 1337, favorite game is Oni and my Grandmother is 93 years old and her sister is 97."
What can we expect from you in the future, Cyberdevil?
"You can expect great things, reviews and ratings, random posts and debatings at the BBS when I'm late in, or procrastinating, and some new flash in the paving, creations I'm crafting and crating, medals I'm craving and raking in the hope of making the hexalist before the daily sunrays at days end on my great vacation. In other words, a little bit of everything. Thanks for reading; thanks for the interview! ;)"
Now you are filled with more knowledge about Cyberdevil, dear reader.Feel free to leave a comment here, saying what you think about the interview, requesting users to get interviews is also appreciated. Tune in next week :3