Sonic Showcase Network
From Sonic Retro
|Sonic Showcase Network|
| Current owner(s): Roareye Black,|
Shadow Urtheart, Violet
|Type of site: Fan art, sprites|
|Created on: July 2003|
|Current status: Online|
In 2002, Roareye Black brought up the suggestion that a group of highly respected spriters in the Sonic fan community, stretching across places such as The Sonic Stadium and The Moogle Cavern. The original plan was to attempt to collect a host of the best fan artists in the field and have them create a site within which they would educate people new to the artform and help them improve should they wish to follow the tutorials.
In 2003, the idea was at a standstill, with nobody interested in creating a site specialising in tutorials. Due to the lack of support for the idea, Roareye began creating the site himself, basing the design off of his old defunct RetroKombat website. The site opened as RetroKombat in July 2003, sporting a very bright and colourful design with a tutorials team consisting of CyberBlade, Speedla and Roareye himself. Within a week, however, Roareye found that people were confusing the new site with the original (Which was a video games archive site), and changed the name to Sonic Spriters Network or SSN for short, where it caught Dreadknux's eye and he offered server space for the site to be hosted.
By the end of 2004, the site had a fanbase and a relative popularity, but Roareye continued with the site mostly alone. The skins were changed and eventually Speedla and CyberBlade were removed from the site's design imagery. The remaining tutorials from others were usually donations by other people such as Shadow Urtheart.
At the end of 2006 Roareye began giving the site a complete overhaul, designing a new HUD-inspired layout and colour scheme which was then created by Dreadknux and B'Man of The Sonic Stadium. The overhaul also included a complete reworking of all the older tutorials and moving around alot of the site's standard setup to simplify the design. Certain key links on the main page were put into already existing and appropriate catagories (downloadable Spritesheets were put into downloads, rather than their own section for example) to give the site a much more refined and easier to use setup.
January 2007 opened up the new site to the masses, and it was recieved well, despite that year having a fall in visitors due to lack of advertising. As well as this, an Editorial section was setup, but has yet to be completed as it will be working off of a future News code that has yet to be completed. The problem also consisted with the small audience appeal a niche site such as Sonic Spriters Network allowed for.
During 2007, the decision was made to upgrade the website from such a small niche and open it out. The new site had to be renamed to incorperate this, however the SSN name was a well known one. To make sure the name was still recognisable with it's history, the decision was made to keep the simplified initials as SSN. The change in the word Spriters to Showcase came when Roareye eventually was given control of the entire artistic part of the SSMB, when the previous head of that forum (Violet) left the Moderating Staff. Roareye made several radical changes to the structure of the forums as well as adding in a Gallery system which took a huge amount of time for Dreadknux and B'Man to streamline into the site. SSN became a growing variety space for people wishing to showcase their artwork. To streamline the "Creative Portal/SSN" forum into an easy to understand title, Sonic Showcase Network was chosen, and within the day had been accepted as the new rename of the site in general.
Within a short space of time, Roareye felt it was time to make the site a more personal affair, as the lack of any imagery of the Site Runners made the design feel slightly clinical. Roareye hired long-time tutorial donator Shadow Urtheart onto the team and returning SSMB Staffer, Violet to create the site's trio. The change to the team ideal ended up being a positive one, as between the three of them the Site Staff covered a large amount of artistic ground.
The site is currently awaiting a large January update which includes alot of tutorials for the new artforms not originally featured on SSN before the rename, and is quickly growing a healthy base of fangame artists and musicians among the already existing artforms covered previously.