Square Headed
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History of Square-Headed Part 4

Posted on in news post history

The first major Square-Headed story arc... It was something that I wanted to use to trick readers into thinking that I had a new update schedule and a new story oriented format. The basis for the arc was actually just a random collection of ideas that I had accumulated. There was no written script, and no set timeline for it, and as a result it was short. It also marked the first time I ever used Gimp to create comics. I made most of the comics ahead of time(the ones that required Gimp to make), but some were made while the arc was running(the ones that I could make in paint with haste). It was during the construction phase that I realized just how hard maintaining such a schedule was, but that was ok because the change wasn't permanent.

After the first major arc excursion, I vowed I would never do such a thing again. At the time, I felt it was too long, the amount of time it took to create for my skill level seemed astronomical, and, most of all, I felt like I was being just like every other sprite comic out there. I did keep using Gimp, though, and so Square-Headed became a little easier to make. Square-Headed had taken its first steps towards evolution.

Thanksgiving came, Christmas passed, comics were made, and with months of Gimp experience under my belt, I was starting to think of ways to make Square-Headed look better. My first decision was to try and use exclusively real world pictures for backgrounds. It probably would've worked if it hadn't turned out to be impossible to find new backgrounds of exact locations and situations every time. So, I decided to go with the next best thing: upscale everything.

For two years, Square-Headed had been on a 1x scale, which is no change to the original sprite size. And for two years, I didn't see this as a hinderance. I just assumed that if it was hard to see, then you could just get your face closer to the moniter. But there were some things that would be hard to see, even if one did get closer to the moniter. There was also the issue of some things being too large for the characters to hold because of their size, and occasional rotation needs. When I switched to a 2x scale, I realized that there were many more things I could do. Not only that, but is just plain easier to see without having to stick your face in the moniter. I think it may have also helped pave the way for this comic, which is one of the most significant in Square-Headed history. Why? Ha ha! Next time.

Dark-NESS, AKA Jeff Hackmann

History of Square-Headed Part 3

Posted on in history news post

September 12, 2006, Square-Headed officially moved to Smackjeeves. Why? Because it was free; because I needed to improve; because there was a community there that could also view my comics. But the main reason behind it, was because Photobucket started to impose stupid rules upon those who used their service. They only allowed image sizes of 800x600, I think the maximum file size was 1MB, and their interface started going to Hell.

I was displeased.

Smackjeeves worked out well for me. I could see exactly how much traffic I was getting, people could favorite it and give me a rough estimate on fanbase size, and I could make the site look exactly how I wanted it... Assuming I ever learn CSS or HTML... Which I didn't. I made my younger brother design it instead, presumably under the cover of "I need to work on making comics and have no time for web design." But that didn't happen until much, much later. Like, over a year later.

During that first year, I was content to let my comic be its random little self. But something was missing... I felt like I was making some sort of headway in the character development field, but ultimately, I had achieved nothing. Aside from the fact that they were all assholes. Sure, I would try here and there to move Cloud's role as an FFVI-character-in-training in some sort of direction, but it never came out right, and trying to make a story arc out of it would take forever with only one CPW(Comic[s] Per Week). I largely ignored the issue, but it kept eating me. I wanted to do more, I wanted to make a longer story arc. But there were also other things to consider, like, "How long do I keep the arc running? Will I be able to prevent it from becoming an eternal story arc? Will Square-Headed become just another sprite comic?" These were first and foremost in my mind because I feared them. Not only that, but I was also trying to remain a clean webcomic(yeah, that totally happened...), and I was running short on ideas that didn't deal with what I believed to be terrible topics.

Weeks passed, I wrote down a few ideas, but nothing moved foreward. Square-Headed updated each week as usual, unless I forgot to make it or was too busy with something else. And then, one day, just out of the blue, I came up with the answer. I knew how I could weave a story, and retain all that Square-Headed was. It was so simple, that I probably should've thought of it sooner.

Actually, it was just me being a dick again. And once again, you'll have to wait until Friday to find out what happens next. I'm not sure if I'm putting enough information into one post, or too much, or just the right amount. Regardless, this has nothing to do with the fact that I am making ice cream today.

Dark-NESS, AKA Jeff Hackmann

History of Square-Headed Part 2

Posted on in news post history

Ok, so I'm not entirely used to this whole "gotta make a news post every update" thing, yet. Don't judge me.

Getting back to my story, I didn't want Square-Headed to have any discernable continuity. I did this because I believed that doing so would inevitably lead to comic's demise. Not only that, but I also believed Square-Headed to be above every other sprite comic at the time. I thought that because I was basing my comic off a game nobody seemed to care about I was different, and therefore better. There was also the fact that every other sprite comic had a continuing storyline, and none of them seemed to be very entertaining. And so because of this, I got the notion that if I left all continuity out, if I just made it like a regular newspaper strip, I would be better than everyone else making sprite comics. This was before I found "8-bit Theater." But that's besides the point. The point is that, once again, I was a dick. A very egotistical one at that. It didn't help that my brother's kind of helped feed it.

Pressing on, I made several comics and posted them on the forums at ZeldaUniverse.net. If you clicked the link, then you'll notice that I updated for a while with seemingly no readers. Regardless, I pressed on and continued to make them on the grounds that it was a fun little diversion for me. Actually, that's kind of all it is today, too. But I enjoy it.

Just a note, but there are some comics on that forum that remain ONLY on that forum for very good reasons.

After my debut on those forums, I gained a small but loyal following, and I began to worry for the first time about how my comics were recieved. The fact that people were reading Square-Headed was enough to make me really want to improve my comics. That and by August of that year, I had found "8-Bit Theater," and hope began to build. Up to this point, I had believed that all sprite comics were simply reviled by everyone except for a few. I couldn't comprehend the idea that someone might actually make a living off of it, or that they hadn't been shut down by the company who owned the original sprites. That was probably when I first thought about getting a site for Square-Headed. But I didn't go through with it because I couldn't find anyplace that would host it for free... That is until my younger brother found Smackjeeves. But once again, that will have to wait.

Dark-NESS AKA Jeff Hackmann.

I just remembered that another influence on the creation of Square-Headed was my younger brother. He had actually started making his own webcomics before I did. I guess it was a combination of baseless hatred and "me too" that brought Square-Headed to life.

History of Square-Headed part 1

Posted on in news post history

Four years ago, Square-Headed came into existence as an animated signature image for the forums on ZeldaUniverse.net. It was made in paint, it was a pain in the ass to make, oh, and I hadn't even played Final Fantasy VII yet. But I was proud of it. And I was proud of my completely baseless hatred towards FFVII, too.

So, I decided to make more.

Square-Headed originated from the idea that I could make something that would enrage fanboys and fangirls of Final Fantasy VII. I've always prefered Final Fantasy VI to any of the others in the series, and couldn't stand the fact that Final Fantasy VII had so many more fans, stealing the spotlight that I felt rightfully belonged to VI. It didn't help that most of the hype surrounding the game seemed to stem from the initial wow factor it had on players. So much was my biased anger that I wanted to make something to piss all of those people off, maybe even attract a wave of hate mail after me. to accomplish this, I decided that I would make Cloud a complete and utter moron, and place the characters of FFVI on a much higher plane of intelligence. It was a simple premise, one that had been done to death with countless other things, but still a worthy vessel for my rage. But then I thought of something else. What if Cloud was not just a mere moron, but a misunderstood moron who simply wanted to be like the other characters? What if he really liked the way FFVI was made and wanted to become a 16x24x sprite? What if he wanted to abandon his own game and remain in FFVI forever? This was the main storyline of Square-Headed. Something that I never got around to actually using. Oh, I tried to, several times in fact, but it never seemed to work out. Mostly because of the one comic a week format, and my complete and utter refusal to add continuity. Why didn't I want continuity? Next week, people. Next week.

Getting back to the hate mail, it never happened. Big surprise there... Oh, wait, no, I got exactly ONE reaction. It was a single post on a forum I don't even go to anymore, and I don't remember what it said. I do remember being happy about it, though. Looking back on this, I realize something that I probably should've noticed sooner.

I was a dick. A stupid one at that. Oh well, I'll make up for it later in life. Probably.

Dark-NESS AKA Jeff Hackmann.

Day two of updates and things are going smoothly... Mostly... Let's hope they stay that way.


Posted on in news post site remodel

Because saying "first" would've been inaccurate. Anyway, Square-Headed returns today with a brand new... story arc. That's right. Beginning today, Square-Headed's format has changed from the standard strip(Pearls Before Swine, Dilbert, Penny Arcade, etc.) to more of a continuing story-line thing(Naruto, How I Killed Your Master, Judge Parker). This will allow me to introduce more story(and backstory) than I could previously, which is something I've wanted to do for a long time.

With this new format is a new update schedule as well, with three new comics being posted each week. How is this going to work out? I don't know. I'm pretty dependant on reader feedback now, so I'm going to once again ask that everyone try to leave comments so that I can get an idea on what I should improve on.

I would like to welcome everyone, new and old, to Square-Headed's new home. I hope that my comic remains entertaining so that people can continue to read and enjoy what it has to offer. But should it fail to be entertaining, please tell me. I really, really need to know. Thank you for reading my work, and have a nice day.

Dark-NESS, AKA Jeff Hackmann.

P.S. Coming Tuesday: The History of Square-Headed Part 1.

P.P.S. I'm not used to writing news posts. I hope I get better at that, too.

This WAS a test post. It ain't anymore.

Posted on in news post site remodel

Oh, that's right, Post, you just got JACKED! *Ahem* With that out of the way, welcome back to Square-Headed. It's been many, many months and moons since we last saw thee, and now thou hast returned. And it is beautiful. For those wondering, comics will resume next week. NEXT WEEK! WHOOO! I've been preparing this for a long time now, and my only hope is that it pays off... If it doesn't, then Square-Headed is doomed to suffer in the abyss of forgotten things forever... Or maybe not. I'm pretty psyched with this whole webcomic thing. Once the comics start coming, I'll also begin telling the history of Square-Headed. Why? Because maybe some people want to know. Just a little note: Some things on the site may or may not work properly. I haven't gotten around to testing it all, so please bear in mind that it's still sort of under construction. Otherwise, see you next week!

Dark-NESS, AKA, Jeff Hackmann.