Been a while, hasn't it? Exactly one year, in fact. I can only apologize for the quiet around here—I didn't even do a resolution post in January (although to be fair, I actually didn't make any fandom-related resolutions anyway). A lot of my website-related time this past year, especially in the first few months, went toward a massive revamp of the Phoenixdex, and I just haven't been able to get any new stories or anything finished that could go up here instead. As always, I'm hoping I'll be able to change that around in the coming year. I cannot and will not promise that the site will update daily, weekly or even monthly—by now I should know better than to say that sort of thing, and anyway it's not like this is an up-to-the-minute news site like Serebii so what would I even do every day—but I can definitely say that I've got some plans in store for this old dog yet.

That brings me to the first of the birthday presents: I've finally gone and updated the To-Do List, getting rid of outdated projects (the last time I touched that page was before Gen VI was even announced, oh god) and adding new ones so the page is once again useful as a way to learn what's up next for AO. Most of what's on there at the moment consists of updates to existing pages and projects, but there are a few new tantalizing secret shinies waiting in the wings as well. (And yes, this time they are actually intended to be content for Altered Origin itself, not side things like the Turquoise RP forums.) You'll also notice that I'm going to be making some changes around here and moving the site to a new platform. For the most part that change shouldn't affect the way you use the site, apart from possibly making it slightly faster to browse—the majority of the changes are more for my/my server's benefit than anything else. Still, it'll probably come with some slightly changed layouts (including a Skiddo layout to complete my set of favorite Pokémon) that will hopefully be even better for reading than the current two are. There may also be some URL and structural changes, and a few older pieces of content may be shuffled around or removed, though I will try not to remove anything I think people might be using—I don't do much with ASB anymore, for example, but I know there are people who reference some of those pages and I don't want to take that content away if it's still useful. We'll just have to see what happens when I read through and move everything over, eh?

Another thing that's on the to-do list: an LP! A few months ago the demo of the highly anticipated fangame Pokémon Ethereal Gates was released, showcasing fifty brand-new Pokémon and the game's first two gyms. I did a blind Let's Play run of the demo over on my Tumblr, and now I'm cleaning it up a bit and moving it over here. It even has screenshots, unlike my last two muddled attempts at LPs! I've mentioned before that I'd like to do more Let's Plays for the site, and in fact I already know what the next one will be. The new Pokémon Uranium LP will likely begin sometime early next year; I had actually wanted to start it today, but one of the things I did resolve to do this year was make some meaningful progress on my towering video game backlog and I want to finish up a few more things before the month is out. We'll see what other games get LP'd in the future, and in the meantime I hope you enjoy my awkward little romp through Ethereal Gates —the new introduction and the first part are up today, just below this birthday update post, and I'll try to get the rest ready to go and queued up for the rest of the month. You'll be able to read the whole series by checking the Ethereal Gates blog tag. (EDIT: Let's Plays have been moved to their own section of the site. The Ethereal Gates LP now starts here.)

I've got a few new 721 mini drabbles to post as well, one that I wrote today and two that I actually wrote earlier in the year but apparently forgot about. Whoops! Well, they're here now, so enjoy Poochyena, Skorupi and Conkeldurr.

Finally, I've also updated the fanart gallery with a few new images, mostly from last year. All but the Fletchling were also previously posted on Tumblr, so you may have seen those four before, but if not, enjoy!

Also, a friendly reminder that the aforementioned Tumblr, while hardly packed with daily content and mostly packed with fakemon art, is definitely updated more frequently than Altered Origin. In addition to said fakemon I do occasionally talk about other things I'm working on, and so for smaller updates and tidbits that aren't finished stories or what have you it's a much better place to keep up with my miscellaneous fandom nonsense in between the bigger things that show up here. Hm, maybe I should even set up an RSS feed on the new AO site so people can check it for new updates as well...

Happy eighth birthday, Altered Origin, and thanks again to those of you who still come around to check out the nonsense I like to toss up here. I hope you enjoy the stuff added today, and that you will enjoy what's coming in the future.