I'm still having some difficulty processing it, to be honest. Ten years. Ten years ago was when the Demented Chicken Network first saw the light of day, tossed up on some inexpensive hosting while I was lounging around in my dorm during freshman year. And having written that I've just realized that this website, as dcNET and Altered Origin and all the miscellanous constituent projects that popped up here and there and were eventually folded back in, like Insubstantiality (my sporadic "blogging") or 493 (the one-shot pokédex project that survives today as 807 mini), has been with me for almost my entire adult life so far. Oh, man. That's... that's a thing. That is a thing. I don't know what to do with this information.

I'll figure it out eventually, I suppose. In the mean time, how about a few birthday updates so you visitors can enjoy yourselves while I'm over here having my mind blown?

Ah, the tenth birthday update. By rights it feels like it should be massive and appropriately fancy, but true to form I forgot there was anything special about this year at all until mid-October, and then there was NaNoWriMo eating up most of November. There was a lot more that I wanted to do and ran out of time for, but at least I have a good foundation on most of it, so the belated birthday updates should hopefully start trickling in. Here's what I've got right now:

Flash demons, I banish thee

First on the agenda is actually a removal rather than an addition. I've had a few Flash thingamabobs up on AO for quite some time now, namely the ASB reffing calculators and the porygonfindsskitty game. The internet as a whole has finally (and rightly) agreed to kick it to the curb, and it's way past time for AO to catch up. My own browsers have trouble running these things because they're trying so hard to block Flash, for Pete's sake. To that end, and because I don't think many people were really using it anymore anyway, the ASB reffing calculators have been removed from the site. For those who still referee ASB matches using my rubric, the written version of my reffing method is still available here. (If for some reason you desperately need the calculators themselves, you can contact me and I'll send you the files.)

That's one of the Flash demons exorcised, but what about my pointless little game? porygonfindsskitty is indeed pointless, but something about it still tugs at my heartstrings. I've also been meaning to toy around with more modern methods of browser game development, and porygonfindsskitty is largely simple enough that it makes for a good practice project when trying a new engine or library or software. To that end, porygonfindsskitty has been completely redone. No more Flash, and also no more of that weird problem where you had to click multiple times to get the game to realize you were there. (Oh, and I think I've replaced all of the most egregiously painful memes.) The visuals have changed somewhat, hopefully for the better. I'm still going to call the new porygonfindsskitty a beta version at the moment, as there are definitely some hiccups and inconveniences that I haven't figured out yet and I want to add more custom artwork and more non-skitty items, but it's playable and it's a little cuter and it's not Flash, so I'm happy. I'll keep poking at it in the future to see if I can fix it up properly, or possibly just rewrite it again as I experiment with more game dev tools.

Free stuff

In the previous update I mentioned that I'd made phone wallpapers out of that new Rayquaza image. I've gone ahead and added those to the returning Free Stuff page, under Fanart in the menu. I've been reasonably pleased with the way a few of my recent pieces look as avatars or wallpapers or whatever, so why not go ahead and put them all together? Future fanart will likely end up there as well.

Damn it, Game Freak

A quick one next: you may have noticed that I mentioned "807 mini" in that opening paragraph up there, rather than "802". Yeah, so that happened. Thanks, Game Freak. No new drabbles at the moment, but the project's name is now up-to-date and all the links should be current.

Interactive Fanfiction

This one's kinda big and properly new. Remember that huge, rambling blog post I wrote six years ago (oh god) about wanting to write interactive fanfiction and text adventure fangames and the like? I, uh, I actually did that. There's a new Interactive Fanfiction section in the Games menu above, which currently houses my first complete work of IF, Special Order. It's more of a self-indulgent, slice-of-life, please-just-do-something-with-that-Arilterra-garbage-you-keep-rattling-on-about bit of practice than it is a proper old-school text adventure or work of avant garde interactive literature, but I had fun making it and I don't think it should be too hard to get through. Hopefully you can squeeze at least a frisson of enjoyment out of it, and hey, if nothing else, it'll help me out with the next, more substantial piece I attempt.

Logo

And finally, I'd been meaning to try a little logo for the site for a while, but only managed to get around to it this evening since it was faster than the other artwork I'd wanted to do. It's up there in the header, and I think it looks pretty okay, small and simple though it is. Less redundant than repeating the words "Altered Origin" again, if nothing else!

Next on the docket

Not too bad overall, then, especially considering the boring birthday parties that happened over the last few years. As I said above, there was more I wanted to do, and once I've had time to recover from the birthday rush and NaNo before it I'll see what I can do about it:

  • Continue polishing porygonfindsskitty
  • Updated fanfic recs and webcomic recs
  • New zodiac images
  • I've had some ideas for new fanart
  • Get back on track with 807 mini
  • There are still those "fancy secret projects" I keep forgetting to sit down and puzzle out
  • I feel like this year's NaNoWriMo was particularly successful, so we'll see what comes of that...
  • I did in fact start writing a larger text adventure shortly after finishing Special Order, but it's far from shareable at the moment. I'd definitely like to work on cleaning it up!

Ten years

...nope, still not used to it. Mindblowing aside, though, I'd like to extend a hearty thanks to those of you who still visit Altered Origin every once in a while, even in spite of its glacial pace, and to those of you who've offered me help and ideas and bug reports and all that other good stuff. AO is here so I have a place to put all my silly projects, but it always warms my heart to hear that other people can get some enjoyment out of this hot fandom mess, too. As always, contact me and let me know if anything's gone awry.

Let's see what sort of nonsense the future has in store for this ol' thing, eh?