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.

Soccer Re-Revivial and a Lost VI Adventure

This project was completed some time ago in the forums, but I’m only getting around to posting it now. A big thanks to Snakeman, Spark Mandrill, Kaos, and General RADIX for their contributions to this ever-expansive project. View the entire gallery here and at the Sinister Six.

What’s more is that a long-lost part of Viral Infection’s history has now been found by Spikeman. Thanks, Spike! Now Chapter 1 of VI’s saga is viewable in it’s entirety.

Viral Infection Archived

A little while back, Gauntlet archived a bunch of Sinster Six stuff due to the imminent closing of Geocities, the internet’s longtime favourite source of simple, free-hosted websites. Today, I bring you the results of my own Geocities salvage operation, the site of the original EXE1 Team, Viral Infection.

VI had a bit of a rough history with hosting. First we were on Geocities, then a couple of flakey servers belonging to friends of TRC. As a result of lots of moving, we racked up a lot of different formats and layouts in our brief 2001-2002 existence. After it was all over, it came full circle back to Geocities on my own account. With a lot of content lost with former servers and so many conflicting backups, I didn’t post much on this memorial site, just the sprites, links to the stuff Gauntlet already put here, and the new VI-related stuff like TRC’s reunion epilogues and the Virus Gallery.

When I started the move to this server, I figured I would just grab all that stuff and plunk it over. I wish now it were so simple, but I kept finding more and more extra stuff I wanted to add:

  • Files stored on the Geocities account I hadn’t posted any permanent links to anywhere like my name origins article or the navisceration checklist.
  • The other backups gathering dust on my hard drive I now had the technical know-how to convert and clean-up to fit with the others.
  • A lot more content thought long-gone courtesy of I could have sworn I tried that place years ago. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough.
  • How about all-new stuff? Mostly out of necessity, I needed to whip up some new images replace lost ones in the bios and chip galleries, and when I decided all the script-based stories needed to be sprited like epilogues, I suddenly needed sprites for a few of the original characters.

It took a couple weeks longer than I expected (i.e. it took two weeks instead of one night), but it’s done. There’s a lot of nostalgia in there, things some of you haven’t seen in seven years. I highly reccommend a glimpse at the sprite gallery, and a quick read of the stories, or what I could recover of them. Also check the Downloads page for some avatars and wallpapers.

I gotta say I’m going to miss Geocities. There are a lot of old friends’ sites that look like they won’t be recovered like this, like Clownman’s Circus or Darkman’s Robot Warriors. I actually grabbed a few things from those sites to put on VI here because I don’t want the internet to be forever deprived of Stoneman’s sprite animation of Megaman’s exploding head.

Epilogues, EXE Walkthrough

The epilogues section was updated once again with the add-on story done in the old EZboard forum. Those of you who used to frequent it may recall this insane epilogue. Well, it’s been sprited, edited, and is all set for viewing.

Anyone who remembers the old team Viral Infection must recall that the lion’s share of updates went to the walkthrough. And so, after hours of tedious work, I have resorted the walkthrough here for everyone to see! Shall this become a new section – game walkthroughs? Will there be even more? No. But this is quite possibly, the most in-depth walkthrough of Battle Network EVER so, if you haven’t played the game or are STILL having some trouble, you may wanna check it out. The only thing that’s missing is the chip index since those images were lost.

Image Gallery, epilogues, Manga scans, Pirate games

Another monster update this week. The Image Gallery has been updated with the EXE cards created by members of Viral Infection. View that in the sprite section of the individual galleries right at the top of the page. Side note: I MUST reorganize that dang image gallery!

More Viral Infection content has been salvaged this week. The rest of the manga scans have been uploaded into the manga gallery, including ones I PLANNED to post at VI, but never had a chance to.

The epilogues section has been updated this week (of course). This time with one done by me … again!

The pirates page has also been updated with a couple new carts. A new Thunder Blast Man and Rockman 1 find. Worth a look.

Some news for you Sinister Six fans out there: It’s not dead. Ice and I have just about finished all the IMPORTANT files and it’s all set once Zero X Phoenix is ready to give Ice his hosting (and if there was any doubt of that happening before, with the closing of Megaman Masters and Zero Forever, that doubt has surely been erased.) So, stay tuned.

**Update a few hours later**

Took a few hours and really went through the galleries. Now their MUCH more organized!

Good news, mangas

Y’know, this hacker thing reminds me of an old Chinese story. “A man once found a wild horse. He thinks this is good, but the old man says ‘wait and see’. The man tries to tame the animal, but breaks his arm. He says

this is bad fortune, but the old man says, ‘wait and see’. Soon a war starts and, because of his broken arm, the man doesn’t have to fight.”

Similarly, Ice’s account was hacked. Pretty bad. But then, he finds he has all the backups. Plus he gets offered hosting on a GOOD server. And he gets help from his friends getting his site more organized than ever before. Which is good. Moral is? The Xtreme Team’s so incompetent that even when they try to hurt someone, they end up helping them.

The Sinister Six is alive on one of Ice’s OTHER accounts so, hooray for him. The Xtreme Team wasn’t too thorough in their little job. Not only did they miss this account, but they also missed ANOTHER of his accounts. Needless to say, we’ve changed the information needed to log into them. Relatively soon, Ice will be out and about.

People have been asking for the proof we have that those Xtreme people are behind this. Well, logically, there’s only one group that hates both me AND Ice and that’s the Xtreme Team. Next, they wrote something not only on the mainpage, but also in the guestbook, claiming responsibility and threatening to “hack” me (har har). Add tot he fact that I’ve constantly been getting spammed by them (although I rarely complain), YES it is those losers.

In content news (that actually relates to THIS site) I’ve uploaded some old Viral Infection content in way of manga images. The 80 (or so) images of minor enemies and robot masters. Very nifty. Manga images can be found in the image gallery.