17th February 2019 - #COGMONKEY2019

I've been putting a lot of effort into YouTube recently and ending my videos with a link to the very website you're viewing right now. Why? Because the homepage contains links to my Twitter, my other YouTube channel, the websites I run and a few other things, and it's easier to just advertise this website than to list all of that stuff individually. But the first thing anyone who has visited this site recently has seen is a big notice about a webcomic being "on hiatus (NOT cancelled!!)" and a cartoon about a chicken that's almost two years old. COGMONKEY.COM has not been updated for quite some time, so I decided to post something. I've renamed the "Info & News" page to "Blogmonkey" so I can justify writing stuff on here that's not just about updates to the website. By explaining that, I guess this is about an update to the website, but I would like to share a bit about what's going on in my life at the moment too.

The big news is: I'm moving to Australia. I'm not going to go into detail about why and where right now because I spent much of last year wildly oversharing and I'd like to rein that in a bit going forward. But I am going to be living in my favourite part of the world for at least a couple of years and I'm incredibly excited about it. I think it's exactly what I need after the absolute hell that I've been through recently. I won't be going until later in the year though so I'm hoping that, although I have a lot of planning and organising to do and oh my god, so many forms to fill in before I leave, now that I'm past the difficult bit and everything's confirmed, I'll have a lot of free time over the next few months to work on some of the creative projects I have been neglecting of late.

On that subject, I never really properly addressed on here what happened with the comics, which were the main reason why I opened this site in the first place. I recently checked the stats and discovered that even now there are still quite a lot of people who browse the comic pages when they visit (realising that people actually do still visit this website is why I'm writing this post now), but if you aren't aware of what Cogmonkey Comics is, my intention was to post a comic every single day for the whole of 2018. I had no plan in mind when I started and I think that's pretty evident in what I produced. The reason why I wanted to get some kind of daily project going was to help to distract me from the aforementioned absolute hell that I was going through. It definitely did help but I always knew the daily aspect of it was probably too ambitious and, while I did manage to keep it going for a few months (107 days!) and I was happy with the direction it was moving in by that point, I did eventually trip up and lose momentum for a little too long and the whole thing just stopped. I was fully intending to only take a short break for a month or so and then catch up, but I then, if I may just get real for a second, very suddenly lost the person who meant the most to me and there was no way I could muster up any creative energy with that kind of grief hanging over me. Once I started to come to terms with it, I again intended to return to making comics and build up a backlog before I started posting again so I could catch up and get back on track, but then another major distraction emerged in my life - Crash Bandicoot.

I've been a Crash Bandicoot fan since I was 5 or 6 years old and - well, I'm not going to detail my whole history with the franchise, I actually already shared some of it in this forum post a few years ago, if you're interested. The short version is: I fucking love Crash Bandicoot. I would still say that the original is my favourite game of all time and I thoroughly enjoyed the N. Sane Trilogy when it was released on PS4. But even though I am almost exclusively a console-only, nay, PlayStation-only gamer, I also decided to give the PC version a try when it came out last summer. I've never exactly been a hardcore modder but whenever I have played PC games I've always had a look inside them just out of curiosity and have been swapping files around since before I had even heard of Crash Bandicoot, and the NST was no exception to that.

First I discovered how to swap music tracks around and that alone was enough to get me more attention than anything I had ever done with LittleBigPlanet (the franchise I was most closely associated with during Crash's wilderness years - it's so strange to me that there could be people reading this who know me through something other than LBP), but then I found a way to add custom music and that's when things started getting really N. Sane. Because people were so interested in what I was doing, and because I had a lot of free time after my future plans had been wrecked by the traumatic events I'd been through over the past year, and because I still needed something to focus on to keep me distracted, modding the NST just kind of became my thing. Not just the music, but gameplay too - animations and even full on level editing. I taught myself how to use Visual Studio and write in C# (I think? idk I'm not a programmer) just so that I could more easily move boxes around in that game.

And that brings me back to the topic of YouTube. My channel youtube.com/cogmonkey, which I kept insisting I was finished with, got a new lease of life in the form of NST modding videos, which finally pushed me over the 5,000 subscriber mark and have helped me to start enjoying doing the YouTube thing again and as long as the ideas keep coming, so will the videos. I've felt very warmly welcomed by the Crash community and encouraged by their support and it's pretty awesome to be followed and promoted by people whose websites I was visiting over 10 years ago. I always wanted to be able to do more Crash Bandicoot-related stuff and now other people want me to do that too, which is great!

The main reason why I've so often said that I was "done with YouTube" is because, with gameplay videos at least, I've always preferred doing it in the form of livestreams. Although I have continued to occasionally upload not-live traditional "let's play" style videos, such as the Spyro the Dragon series I started last year and am considering resuming soon now that I have a lot more subscribers who are into those games, I would still like to do a lot more streaming in the future. I have been saying that for a long time but now that I actually have some solid plans for the future I'll finally be able to stop living out of a suitcase and get myself set up somewhere properly, and then regular livestreaming will be a lot easier. I am considering streaming some old games that I won't be able to take with me when I move away before I leave but we'll see.

So what happened to that other YouTube channel I have, youtube.com/cogmonkeyproductions? Why is there a page for animations on this website when I so rarely actually animate anything? Well, look, animation takes a long time! And there are other factors that have disrupted my animation projects in recent years - not just the personal crises I've faced but also technical problems. As part of my journey into the world of programming, I repartitioned the SSD in my laptop which contains all of those animation projects and managed to corrupt everything in the process. I thought I had lost everything and for several months I was running my OS's from external drives while I tried to work out what I was going to do. Eventually I found a way to use my newly acquired programming knowledge to break into that SSD and salvage some files from it, and once I knew that there was still a chance of recovering something, I went all out with trying to fix it and by some miracle I was able to access every last file on there (and immediately back them up to multiple locations). So in the end all I really lost was time. With everything else that's been going on since then I still haven't made much progress with those projects but I'm still planning to at least finish the 3 that are "in production", because I think they'll be really cool when they're done, to me at least. That's partly what I was talking about when I said I was hoping to work on stuff while I have some free time over the next few months.

Aside from the animation, and whatever it is I'm doing with YouTube, and that level editor thing that I need to get back to, there is one more big project that I want to put some work into this year. But I've already written a lot in this post so I'll save that for another time. If I cover everything in one go then there's no point in calling this a blog, is there? I think I will try to update this at the very least once a month so that should probably be easier to stick to than making a comic every single day. If you want more frequent and brief updates (or, realistically, just a lot of Crash Bandicoot GIFs) then my Twitter is @COGMONKEY and if you want to try to have some kind of actual conversation with me then you can find me on Discord as ARD#7106, I'm probably marginally better at responding on there than I am on Twitter. I don't have a Discord server because I don't really understand what they are despite apparently being a member of several. I'm not very good with that kind of thing which is why I still have a website like this and am still running online bulletin boards in 2019. Sorry.

Thanks for reading! Have an amazing day and always be kind! I'll write another post soon.

Love from ARD


© Cogmonkey 2019