Cossack’s Comrades?!

Comrades
Dive

You were expecting somebody else?  Well, a new team has slid under the broad team umbrella the Mechanical Maniacs has generously provided.  And it’s your favorite Mega Man 4 team and mine, Cossack’s Comrades!  Our last webhost has gotten particularly frustrating to use between its archaic user interface to spontaneously blinking out at the drop of a hat, I decided enough was enough, called in a favor to my old pal Shadowman, and now here we are!!

It’s everything you knew and loved about the Comrades, and more! For not only do the Comrades have a new home, they have a new story to tell to boot! And not just any story, the final installment to Dive’s Inferno, Canto X: Treachery! Our (anti) hero has finally reached the final stretch of the Hell, and his escape/salvation is so close he can taste it! And he’s not going to let various damned traitors or even Lucifer himself stand in his way! Unfortunately, Dante’s luck turns on him when he finds out everything he knows is wrong, he stands on the verge of losing everything, and all of creation could suffer alongside with him! You’ve read this far and waited this long on the edge of your seat. You deserve to know how it all really ends!

AXE – Final Part

This is it! Thank you for joining me for the final Annihilation update. I am officially bringing the project to a close.

Click above for the story epilogues. This is also the final art update, with the three biggest pieces I had to draw for this entire thing. Behold, our final boss, Dark Desertman, in all his abominable glory. Then in this corner, the AXE squad, whose acronym makes slightly less sense than the one it came from. Finally, their arch nemeses, Tenebrosi, the picture that I came close to burning out on and had to call in some help. Much thanks to Crys (FlameChick) for the coloring assist with that last piece.

The Chip Database was also completed in time. It’s still not perfect. It was probably not the best idea to combine the icons into a single image by family (it certainly made it harder to re-arrange the index), but somehow I don’t think having over 700 separate little images loading on the page would have been any better, alignment aside. I’m just accepting it as it is.

My heartfelt thanks to the team members that stuck around all this time and supported me right to the end. Thanks to Letra for the brainstorming sessions and for giving me the name for the dark team in the end. Thanks to Crys for lending her artistry during the final stretch and for providing feedback on the writing for every part I posted ahead in the team forum. Thanks to Nijubu for adding to the story right to the end, his writing is always an inpsiration to mine. Thanks to Blackbelt, Alice Vulcan, SuperKoala, Jake Tan, Fishman, and Akutare for being around to revive the team back in 2008. I did my best to incorporate everyone’s ideas regardless of how long they stuck around, and I don’t blame anyone for dropping off. Thanks to Gauntlet for setting us up with the timeshare on Mechanical Maniacs and letting me basically take over the front page for the past six months. Thanks to Avi for letting me throw her character’s likeness into the story for a purpose that never even saw realization. Thanks to Spark Mandrill for running with a lot of my ideas for how the EXE team universe worked, almost singlehandedly vindicating the entire collaborative aspect of the team community. Thanks to Havoc and Cifnas and all my old teammates for starting the EXE3 team and giving me a further outlet for the obsession I’d developed with Viral Infection, and thanks to Valcion for starting that team right when I was getting fascinated by Mega Man teams and thinking how much I would like to be a part of one.

For me, this really is the culmination of about 13 years of EXE teams. Back then I made some decisions I likely would not if I were a little older and wiser. We jumped into making the first EXE team before BN1 was even out, which was the kind of move I would relentlessly mock a few years later. Plus, the very premise of BN — a shonen/card game/cellphone culture based re-imagining of Mega Man? It doesn’t seem like the kind of thing I would be into normally. I think it was entirely because I wanted to be on an MM team and that was the first one available to me that I decided I was going to not just be into EXE, I was going to be the EXE expert.

I spent those first few years trying to be such an expert. It didn’t quite work that way. I was never able to keep up with every aspect of the rapidly expanding franchise, but at least with the games I was exceedingly thorough. I’d buy every version of each game and play them beyond 100% completion, making exhaustive notes and analysis to turn into some kind of informative content for the site. I was so eager to become an expert on these games that I taught myself how to read Katakana just so I could play the Japanese versions in the gap between regional releases.

It was the team story that really motivated me though. What began as dumb, fun, little forum RPs that none of us took seriously somehow became a major creative playground. I would start writing my part of the story in my head far ahead of everybody else to the point that by the time Viral Infection ended with one RP completed and two more stalled midway through, I had already written an origin story and plotted out the remainder of the unfinished pieces, and conceived of eight more stories that would have spun out from them. Then we ended up tying that continuity to the new one in Annihilation and I just kept writing further ahead. It was a little ambitious.

The BN series itself ended in 2006, and stepping back, looking at the whole timeframe, it would have made more sense if AXE did as well. VI had folded with more active members present than AXE persevered with 8 years ago. If anyone was in denial, it was me. This is about where it stops being about a team and starts being all about my own hangups. I still didn’t even want to let VI go. I didn’t want to leave anything unfinished. It had become an obsession, like so many other things I get myself wrapped up in. I became more determined to bring the project some kind of closure even as growing up and graduating into the workforce meant I had less free time to accomplish that goal. It started as a team and I still wanted it to be a team, but it had increasingly become just one person trying in vain to corral some uninspired friends who had better sense of when it was time to move onto other interests.

2006 to the present has been a long string of instances where I would consider if it were best to quit, and that may have been the sensible approach, but instead I would just double-down. From finishing the first finale to the recruitment drive for the team’s new iteration to writing the second finale, and several smaller things right up to earlier this week when I earnestly questioned the value of putting the finishing touches on the Chip Database vs. getting rid of the whole mess.

It really didn’t help that the enthusiastic love I had for the Mega Man Battle Network series in the beginning had started to wane at this time. I really didn’t like BN6 at all. It was a sour note to go out on. I was painfully reminded of how much I hated that game when I forced myself to revisit it in order to finish the Navi and Chip pages. So why would I continue to try to be the EXE guy for twice as long as the series’ actually lasted?

Well, even if my original motivation was lost to time, I still liked writing this story. I liked building off all that history. I liked designing new characters and planting the seeds for later reveals. Wrapping it up this way has also been cathartic for me. It’s not like I got to use all of my ideas, but I got to a point where I’m comfortable letting those ideas go or reworking them into something new. Everything on the site now is something I had fun putting together either on my own or collaborating with everyone else. I wish it all could have come together more quickly, like while any of us involved still cared about the BN series, but it came together in the end, so I’m satisfied.

Stay tuned to the Mechanical Maniacs where the team spirit lives on and my own attentions will be less divided in the future. Some leftover AXE stuff may even yet see the light of day as parts of Mechs projects eventually, but we’ve got our own Series 8 to polish off first.

Until then, this is Drillman for the Mega Man Battle Network 3 team, Annihilation.EXE, logging off.

Random Image Added

ANOTHER update!?  WTF?  Yeah, it appears so.  It’s another techy one; the random video on the bottom of the main page now alternates with a random image that’s plucked from the gallery.  Enjoy!

Slightly Revised Layout

You may not have noticed, but the layout has changed ever so slightly.

It has been brought to my attention that my amazing, fantastic, and all around awesome layout … is awesomely SLOW for some people to load. I figured this was because of our oftentimes slow server, but I’ve been made aware that it’s STILL slow for some. And the culprit is the logo. So I’ve revised it. It was jQuery before, but now it’s straight-up Flash, Screw you iPad users!

Anyway, the site should load up faster for people now. Hopefully.

Make Way for Series 8

Series 8

It’s been a long, LONG time coming, but Series 8 is finally here! Ben FINALLY finds his rightful place in the fictitious universe of the Mechanical Maniacs. And so does an all new Magnetman.

New layout and a new Epilogue!

Yes, that’s right. It’s that time again! I’ve been hard at work making a new layout!

Well, okay. Maybe it’s not really "new" as much as it is "tweaked", but there’s still plenty different. For instance, this laypout was reallly a big excuse to learn a bit of HTML5, CSS3, and JQuery! Of course that nessessitated the use of some large files, so … we’ll see how all that works out.

Furthermore, both the gallery and our blog have gotten substancial revisions. While I kept up with the latest releases of WordPress, I never actually changed that layout to reflect that. This has changed. And the gallery was even worse off – Coppermine changed so much that installing the latest version simply broke it! So that too has been completed updated.

But that’s not all! The second part of Remnant is now online!

Can anybody hear me out there?

Because this site has been down almost constantly lately thanks to server downtimes that I don’t even know.  It’s been down so much so that it just about precludes updates (although they’re certainly being worked on).

I feel I must apologize.  The server’s help desk is no help at all and the only thing that seems left to do is move outta here.  Everyone at the Mechs is reluctant to do this due to loss of records and overall hassle, but … well, we’ll see.

Anyway, sit tight.  We’ll be fuilly functional soon, hopefully.  With, maybe, a surprise or two!

Happy 2012!

10th Anniversary

Well, it’s finally here. The very last anniversary update! And what an update it is!

Yes, the final updates relate to Maniacs mainstays, the epilogues. Firstly Series 1 and Series 2 have been remastered by Raijin (Snakeman). They now feature less spelling mistakes and more images next to speaking lines! Fans of the epilogues have actually asked about this before, but the project has always been just a bit too big, but now our earliest epilogues are edited.

Next up is another project Snake and I have been working on feverishly all this month. Epilogue Summaries. Yes, now you don’t have to re-read the entire series just to know what any given character is about in the Maniacs’ epilogue series. These summaries. follow, not only members of the team, but villains as well and they also delve into the various prose stories features on the site, such as the Unnamed and Wanted.

Finally, the gallery has been updated with fan art and the rest of the Megaman PC video pictures. I’ve also drawn an entirely new picture for the 10th anniversary which features the mechanical maniacs in their transmetal 2 armor with their greatest villains in the background.

All this and a certain …. hidden page has also been updated.  find it if you can!

So, here’s to another 10 years!

10th Anniversary

More 10th anniversary stuff! Dr Wily’s Last Stand!? Part 4, the final part of the Megaman 3 retelling is now online! Will Megaman defeat Dr. Wily? Well … yes, obviously. But this is the epilogue version of that!

I’ve also added some more Sinister Six PC related images relating to that music video. Two are Torchman’s hopes and dreams for the future (yeah, X and Zero will totally honor you, Torch … yeah), and the rest are memories of the PC guys.

10th Anniversary

The 10th anniversary updates continue!

Ah, Mechanical Maniacs Lite. That was a backup site on Geocities made when Planet Megaman, our longtime host, suffered one of it’s frequent outages, taking us along with it. Rather than simply disappear I had that site inform people on when we’d be back. It was simply a front page with the bios, but it served it’s purpose and I rather like the NES styles banner. The old NES and WW based layouts were nice and unique until every single other Megaman team copied them. Because, naturally, everyone needs a similar layout when they already have a similar idea behind their sites.

Dr Wily’s Last Stand!? Part 3 continues the retelling of Megaman 3. But that’s not all! Topman has written an all-new epilogue – No Newbs Is Good Newbs. This one has actually been on hold since very early on in Series 6, but the work has definitely been worth the wait!

And there’s even more art in the galleries. I had missed some of Raijin’s older Mechs art, but no more! Actual pictures of Lennon’s Evil Eight are now in his gallery along with a few other pictures, as seen below. My gallery has been updated with even more S6 pictures as well.