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Dreadknux

From Sonic Retro

<forumuser name="Dreadknux" /> Dreadknux is the online screen name of long-standing webmaster Svend Joscelyne. He is known best as the founder of The Sonic Stadium fansite, and is viewed by many as an inspirational community member - his unique approach to design and authoring style changed the way Sonic websites were handled during the Internet Boom (circa 1999-2001).

Dreadknux is also the founder of the SSMB Forums, and creator of other TSS Network sites SEGASonic Radio and the Sonic Site Awards. In his professional life, he is a media journalist that specialises in computer game coverage and created and co-organised international fan convention 'the Summer of Sonic' in 2008.

Influence

Dreadknux's mark on the entire Sonic community is large, with many old and new fansites now taking influence from The Sonic Stadium website. Features that debuted on TSS have been replicated on a grand scale, such as Annual Awards Ceremonies and community incentives. While not a pioneer of many of these features, Dreadknux's adoption of the aforementioned on The Sonic Stadium saw many replica award ceremonies and 'site networks' appear online.

SEGA Europe

In 2005 SEGA Europe was approached by Dreadknux to form a limited relationship with one another, akin to the 'publisher-press' treatment that professional sources enjoy. PR Managers began this by offering 5 copies of Shadow the Hedgehog on PlayStation 2 to The Sonic Stadium to give away in an online contest, with one special copy featuring the signature of Takashi Iizuka. Complete with regular updates on the game throughout the week, including press assets handed by SEGA Europe, the dubbed 'Shadow Week' was a success and allowed SEGA to take the Sonic online fan community very seriously.

Today SEGA Europe has a dedicated Community sector, specifically created to provide special incentives and community days for Sonic fan websites exclusively. Currently the Community sector is lead by Kevin Eva, also known as AAUK from website Sonic Wrecks, who began duties in 2007. Although SEGA had basic plans to reach out to the community before the iconic 'Shadow Week' on The Sonic Stadium, many people credit Dreadknux as the sole catalyst that brought the publisher and the fan community closer together.

Webmaster History

  • Late 1999: Discovering the Internet, Svend became aware of his fellow schoolmates' habit of downloading Sonic the Hedgehog ROMs and playing them in the computer centre. Remembering his childhood, Svend searched the Internet looking for Sonic sites, expecting to glean nothing. On the contrary, websites were scattered all over the place, including the two major sites of the time Sonic HQ and The Sonic Foundation. The page that caught his eye however was The Moogle Cavern, a website created by Kulock.
  • Mar 2000: The website single-handedly rekindled Svend's fandom, laughing at the hoaxes that were once hosted there while his schoolmates didn't understand it. When his parents bought a new computer, Svend started to realise the potential of the Internet. He wanted to share the information he knew from when he played the games as a kid, to anyone who cared to read it. So that month began the production of his own Sonic website.
  • 12 Oct 2000: Joined the Moogle MB forums with an ezBoard account. It was the first forum he had ever participated in, and he made many friends including H Hog and Joshu.
  • 24 Oct 2000: The Sonic Stadium launched on a simple free Angelfire account, with few pages and little content. Over time, more sections were added, and content began to flourish - with news stories and information being posted in a unique, friendly method that brought visitor and webmaster closer together.
  • Nov 2000: Inspired by the Moogle MB, Svend launched his own ezBoard, to no success.

'Dreadknux' began to re-invent the online Sonic scene from early 2001, when he was pondering why his site was not getting much attention. He came to the conclusion that visitors already familiar with established websites had no reason to visit a small webpage that would be likely to have the same content as the established sites. It was also apparent that there were few opportunities for member interaction. That was when Dreadknux created The Sonic Site Awards - an annual awards ceremony that applauds the efforts made by small Sonic websites trying to break through. This, coupled with a Radio Station venture and up-to-date coverage of Sonic Adventure 2 brought a lot of attention to The Sonic Stadium.

The 'SSA' remains as the major event that the entire Sonic community looks forward to - from webmasters to visitors of all Sonic sites. The event has not lost its focus since its inception, despite The Sonic Stadium website becoming massively popular.

Not resting on his laurels, he created a forum in late 2001 called the Sonic Stadium Message Board, which has since become the most popular Sonic Forum on the internet during 2003. As of October 2005, control has been passed to Roarey Raccoon to maintain the community vision Dreadknux had of the SSMB. The radio station, SEGASonic Radio, started life as 'Sonic Groove Choons FM' and was renamed in late 2001 to give the project a new lease of life.

During that very same time, Dreadknux had launched an addition to The Sonic Stadium called "The Sonic Fan Club". The first of its kind, it was a fan showcase akin to fanart and fiction galleries that other sites had, but it catered for all aspects of Sonic fan creation. Since its creation its priorities have been pushed aside, but a glorious re-invention of the entire project is on the cards for 2006.

Mid-2002 brought controversy when Dreadknux and his friend Sonic_Hedgehogs (original webmaster of SONIC NEWS) decided to merge both websites to form the Sonic Stadium News Group. During BETA designs, Dreadknux borrowed background images from Sonic HQ - and unbeknownst to him, Sonic_Hedgehog's SONIC NEWS content was largely from other sites. The SONIC NEWS content issue, coupled with Dreadknux's forgetfulness in failing to remove the original backgrounds led to an unnecessary and scathing attack by the Sonic HQ community members. The understanding Sonic HQ webmasters and Dreadknux attempted to stop the bad feeling, but the damage - including an invasion of the SSMB Forums - was too far inflicted to continue the merged project. As Sonic_Hedgehogs abandoned the SSNG project, Dreadknux decided after a while of inactivity to pick up the pieces himself and revive SSNG, while renaming the website back to The Sonic Stadium.

2003 brought the invention of The Sonic Stadium Network; one of many ideas that inspired many small websites to adopt the 'Network' method. The Sonic Stadium was the first site to balloon into a fully fledged Network, and initially included TSS (the abbreviation of 'The Sonic Stadium' that was visitor-instigated), the SSMB and SEGASonic Radio. The Sonic Stadium website itself was now starting to pick up incredible pace, and the addition of FastFeet Media - a project by collaborator Graham Seward (FastFeet) - and the Sonic Site Awards helped satisfy the Network more. A fangame group called Shadow Team - of which Dreadknux is also involved in - and spriting website The Sonic Spriters Network by his younger brother Roareye was also added later.

  • 18 Jan 2006: SEGASonic Radio saw a change in administration, as SpawnofSonic had found no time to attend to his new radio station head position since getting the job the previous November. FastFeet was given control of SEGASonic Radio, while Svend would still maintain an overseeing position.
  • 8 Feb 2006: Svend had a run-in with GamePro magazine regarding the uploading of scanned pages from their current issue. The material featured the entire article of their exclusive story on Sonic the Hedgehog (2006 game). The scans were removed.

Other Jobs

Since 2002, Dreadknux was also a leader of three in fangame group 'Shadow Team' - a group that had been inactive from early 2005 and is now officially dead. The team had developed one fangame, 'Sonic Avalanche'; an arcade title that saw Sonic characters avoiding waves of fireballs to earn points. The game was received well on the Sonic Fan Games HQ community. Shadow Team's largest project involved a 2D sprite version of Sonic the Fighters, titled 'Sonic the Fighters 2' - but an early two player demo was as far as this project went.

Dreadknux has also been vocal on his SEGASonic Radio station, regularly hosting Sunday evening programme "The Sonic Hour". The Sonic Hour has been the headlining programme of the SEGASonic Radio scheduling since "LiVECAST" (live broadcasting - a term Dreadknux himself created) was introduced to the online radio station in 2003. Today, 'SSR' stands as the most popular, if not one of the only surviving Sonic the Hedgehog online radio stations.

After establishing contact with SEGA Europe in 2005, Dreadknux's association with the company has grown and despite the close relationship, he still asserts a high level of objectivity when assessing the latest games and media on his own websites. He is a regular columnist for SEGA Europe's official Sonic the Hedgehog weblog, the Sonic City Blognik.

Considering his future career as a journalist for the video game industry, Svend has recently had to recede his control of some TSS Network websites to those he trusts dearly, to be able to concentrate on University work. He currently writes professional reviews for the website SPOnG.com, which he has been doing since February 2006.