Third Anniversary: June 2013
THIS IS MY AUTO-SPY!!! I MEANT AUTOPSY!!!
This is the Member of the Month; an interview that I do at the end of each month. It's a fun way of finding out about respected members of the community.
I personally select each month's Member of the Month. People are picked based on their contributions to the community, whether they are: making excellent trials, providing comic relief or just being a brilliant person. The next Member of the Month could be you!
If you have any questions about the Member of the Month system, please PM me.
It's hard to believe that it's that time again, time for the anniversary of Member of the Month, the tradition that first began with Meph. We saw Unas as our first ever interviewee, and then to celebrate the 1st anniversary, the tables were turned for Meph, who went from interviewer to interviewee. And then for the 2nd anniversary, we had the first panel interview featuring the AAO QA Inspection Team. And now, here we are, three years on, ready to celebrate the Third Anniversary. And sticking to tradition, this interview was undoubtedly going to feature a member of the site's administrative/moderating/inspection team. The question was, "Who?"
My first choice was Kroki, temporarily known as Kroking. As the French section moderator reknowned for his (French) trial series, Edouard Roivas: The Eye of the Law, Kroki's responsibilities eventually earned him a well-deserved promotion to Admin. And in his tenure as admin, Kroki has endeavoured to make himself well-known to all of the communities. English members of the community know him best for being the one to change names. Unfortunately, Kroki turned down my offer, preventing me from asking the most anticipated question, "Why is he so obsessed with food?" His competition entry, many months ago, had a number of characters named after food. As Hazama probably didn't say, "Why? Why? Why?"
That's when it clicked. AAO has a history many members have forgotten. Indeed, many new members, who haven't been on the site in the past, likely have no idea of this history. What am I talking about? That's simple. I knew this Anniversary had to play upon the history of AAO... a site that once hosted AAO Mafia. And there was a former moderator who used to play the game, a moderator also known for his featured trial, Turnabout Nightmare. Yes, I'm pleased to welcome Ghaleon, as my pick for the Third Anniversary interview.
Tap: Hello, and welcome to the thirty-sixth, and Third Anniversary for the Member of the Month interview.
Ghaleon: Thank you, Tap! Great to be a part of it! This is extremely exciting to be able to speak to the community again after so long. It is nice to be remembered.
Tap: Can you tell us about how you found AAO, and what made you want to join?
Ghaleon: Well, back in 2008 if I recall, I just started playing Ace Attorney and became addicted to the gameplay and story. After finishing all four, I started to replay them. It was during my second playthrough of Trials and Tribulations when I really wanted to see if there was something out on the internet that had like a program that could allow you to make your own trials.
Needless to say, some of them actually required a great deal of work to actually be able to use them properly, I think due to needing to know basic coding. Since I didn't want to take the time to learn how to do that (my mind wanders often), I continued searching. I then came across the Ace Attorney Online site which did everything (and I assume it still is) in a java applet which made it tons easier. The English Forum was just getting started or was not as active then. I wanted to use it the Trial Maker to satisfy my craving of creativity and I became a member then. I was still new to the forum scene then so I still kind of wary at first. But it didn't take long to become comfortable. I don't regret a moment of it! The rest is chronicled in the archives.
Tap: AAO was host of AAOnline Mafia for a long time, a forum now Archived. Tell us, what exactly was AAOnline Mafia?
Ghaleon: AAOnline Mafia was our version of the forum game Mafia based off our members as the roles. A game usually involves two teams, Townies and Mafioso. The roles are randomly distributed and only the Mafioso knew who each other were. The game involved day and night phases, where during the day phase people voted on who they thought were Mafioso and by its conclusion the person with the most votes was "lynched" (or out of the game) with his/her affiliation shown publically. Then the night phase began, which was a calm before the storm. During this time people either do nothing or discuss what happened before. At the conclusion of the night phase, the Mafioso as a whole (or one person depending on game type) choose to kill one person. The time between day - night and night - day are known as Phase Changes. There are also sometimes roles with powers that could affect game play. The game concludes when either the Town kills all the Mafia or the Mafia outnumber the Town. There are many different styles of play but all to help enrich the game. That's it in a nutshell.
Tap: How did Mafia come to AAO? I vaguely remember reading about it being the main game of the Berry Big Circus* forums on the old Court Records forums...
Ghaleon: Yes, that is true. AAOnline Mafia was the brain child of Ami (genodragon1) and AntiRoyalty (Trucy) after they played a game of Ace Attorney Mafia on that forum which I myself was also a part of. The round was a version that revolved around the first case of Phoenix Wright: Justice for All. We enjoyed it so much that the two wanted to create their own version at AAOnline, using members as the roles instead of characters from the Ace Attorney game. Since the round had heavy influence in Ace Attorney, bringing it to AAO was not difficult to do.
*Berry Big Circus was a roleplay/forum games forum on the InvisionFree Court-Records forums, but due to it using immense bandwidth, they removed forum games as a feature when moving to the current Court-Records forum.
Tap: And how did it work on AAO? A public search of Ami's (genodragon1) trials will reveal a list of public "AAO Mafia Round X" trials.
Ghaleon: The game was still basically forum based, which are archived and can be viewed. The only difference is that we used the Trial Editor for the Phase Changes. A majority of the trials originally were made private since we didn't want them to flood the Trials page and confuse newcomers and veterans of the site alike. We also had our own section created in the forum specifically for AAO Mafia.
Tap: What happened to AAO Mafia? Why was it Archived, and relocated to Saccharyne Park, and then later Vendetta Strada?
Ghaleon: After some time, I believe we wanted to keep AAOnline specific for the Trial Maker and General Chatting so we moved the AAOnline Mafia to a new location. Saccharyne Park was named by a friend of ours, known then as Boss Velotix (just Velo mostly now) and that is where we did our business for another ten or so games. We still used the Trial Editor and linked it to the forum. Vendetta Strada came around due to CR Mafia (which is where those from Court Records went and made a site) and VG Mafia having attendance issues with their games. I became one of the few who wanted to merge all three sites so that the community became one (since many of the players from one site frequented the others as well). After some fixing and tweaking, we moved everything to Vendetta Strada which is where the Mafia community we made exists today.
Tap: And if I remember right, Unas used to play Mafia, didn't he?
Ghaleon: He did play the first round. He was interested in it like many of the people who tried the game first on AAOnline. I don't recall him playing afterwards and I didn't see his name on any of the future signup sheets. He did survive that game, if I recall. I wish I could say the same for me! Ha! I was voted Day Two because of the sole reasoning that I survived being hit by the Mafia...very upsetting. I was Town, though. Very bad day.
Like me, though, we both had our names down as "Roles" in that first round meaning that those who got our "names" in the random picks got special powers. And they were both Mafia Roles too. Maybe we intimidate too often, heh!
Tap: Let's move on. Can you tell us how you become a moderator?
Ghaleon: I was extremely active back when Unas wanted to choose a moderator for the English area. I felt comfortable with the position and put in my hat. I think the power got to my head though and it became al burden with all that was going on during that time. I feel personally I might not have made the right decisions, but history I guess will judge that. I felt relieved when new moderators were chosen because then I became a moderator for Saccharyne Park and then Vendetta Strada when they were created. I kinda dropped the ball, but the experience helped me in the end. Though the disappearing acts make it hard for everyone. I also kind still feel a little regret that I let the community down. I guess from my disappearance it had a more profound effect on me than I realise looking back now.
Tap: How did you come up with your most well-known trial to date, Turnabout Nightmare?
Ghaleon: I don't know how I came up with the idea. Initially, I just kept writing the story as I learned the program. It started at a simple trial but as I continued to work on it, I tried to make some sense into it and make it a good story. As I started to really get the hang of it, I wanted to play around with my favorite character! It was the first time since high school I attempted and doing a story like this. Manfred von Karma was (and still kinda is) my favorite character so I wanted to do a trial with him against Apollo and Phoenix. It started out as a "What if" but became something more...
Unlike what I try to do now which is having a storyboard of some kind with script premade, it was a very rough start to make sure everything fit. I had to split the trial in two due to reaching a certain limit at the time (which was I think 1000 events) and it became Alpha and Omega. Eventually by the time I had Alpha done, I knew what I wanted to do with the story with some added reflection of how everyone responding to Alpha.
I released Alpha out first due to the event limit back then. Forum goers were excited about it and left feedback about the story and whatnot. No spoilers for those who haven't played it, but I had to change a few things during the development of Omega since I wanted it to flow like it was canon as possible but still being fan made.
I have always put a firm believe that villians of all kind are three dimentional. Not just clear cut evil but if they are, they better have a good reason. I believe also that Manfred is not just completely cruel or coniving. I gave the character a chance to look back on his past transgressions and perhaps become more aware of what he was doing and how it got him to where he was. Again, without spoiling, I think I made him a bit more relatable. Just my opinion and it was the goal.
I was quite surprised to see people liking it and I appreciated the feedback. I still remember tweaking it every so often to make it flow easier. I still look at it and groan as any artist would do so at their own work, but I am glad to see it was a featured trial and that others enjoyed it so much.
Since we started this interview, I have been hidden in the forum, updating Turnabout Nightmare. By now, it should be all done. It was an important project for me and I want to feel complete about it as possible before I do anything else. While still "classic" since it is still a bit outdated with what is involved, it has been updated with new sounds, scripts, and most if not all errors fixed. I have basically created it as a Prologue Case 1 for a master project. Five years since I made Turnabout Nightmare, so it is only fair it gets treated well.
Tap: Do you have any plans to ever return to trial developing?
Ghaleon: I still want to complete my grand plan: a series that Turnabout Nightmare became a prologue trial to. I called it Project Turnabout Dream, which of couse is direct opposite to the Nightmare trial. I have four other trials planned out on paper with major plot points that basically could become a game of itself and was going to with all the new updates I saw to the site and Trial Maker.
The trouble was and is getting the time to do so. I actually had a thread out for the second trial, but free time became tight. I also wanted to do personalized sprites but I realised it was beyond my abilities. A recolor was different than actually making new sprites from scratch. I then had issues with my computer and most of the main files were lost. Still working on that. I want to complete it, so yes I will eventually crawl back publically. Perhaps this is a *hint hint* towards any sprite artist that I do need some help. ;D
Custom sprites or not, I think it is time to start that back up. Instead of a simple name of Turnabout Beginnings like I had originally planed (not to mention I am sure that name has been taken recently), the next trial I am going to be working on is called Turnabout Inceptum. I am not going to have a "release date", but I am more into it now that before.
Tap: For those who were around, you're also well-known for your sprite comic, The Court Record of Ghaleon von Karma. Tell us about it. (And might I add, ask why the links give a 403 error now. )
Ghaleon: Oooooh man. That comic. Don't get me wrong, it was a grand experiment, but boy did it give me some headaches.
I was reading for the first time web comics and since I got a lot of positive feedback on my Manfred von Karma recolor (which became Ghaleon von Karma) on AAOnline, I wanted to see if I can do a web comic. Using Photoshop, I just made a quick trial and tried to make a story out of it. Again, at the seat of my pants initially. I eventually wanted to take the story I was making in the CR of GvK and turn it into the trial series. I also realised real quick that I still had a lot to learn about how to flow a story properly. I got more "interesting" feedback for the comic and looked at others, seeing how they did it. Eventually, I thought it would be easier to do the comic as the trial and stopped completely.
It was still a great experience to do. It taught me how to storyboard as I plan on using the comic panels to help move along my trial that is sitting incomplete right now. I also learned how to expect good and bad feedback and take it openly. I would still do it again if I had to do it over. As a matter of fact, I recall even using the comic as a portfolio piece to show off for a job opportunity many years back to be a web designer for a radio station out here in Tucson, Arizona to show my experience with Photoshop. Didn't get the job, but it was close and the interviewer was impressed with it.
That comic also spawned the awesome Autospy, which was a typo in one of my first panels for "autopsy". Since then, I made pictures with the Autospy being a car with "hidden features". I hope to incorporate that more in the future in trials perhaps.
As far as the 403 error, I moved the files to a computer off of FileDen, which was hosting the files initally. I need to find them for "posterity" reasons and host them somewhere else. I can say I have come a long way since then. Might be painful to see them, again the artist sees his own work at a grimmace.
Tap: It's been a long time, but do you happen to have a favourite fan trial here on Ace Attorney Online?
Ghaleon: I am sure there is, but I cannot remember since it has been so long since I have went down into the site. And I am not going to choose mine, cause that's not cool. I'll play some and then give my insight later perhaps!
Tap:What was your childhood like?
Ghaleon: As with most people, there were good times and bad times. I have a very large family, divorces happened often including my own parents, and the families don't get along really well. I don't want to dwell completely on the negative and sound like a sob story, heh.
I was protected quite a bit due to the family drama so I was extremely naive and didn't like being around kids my age. I eventually found friends who were older than me by like three of four years and that switched around for the opposite to a certain degree as I got older. I was exposed to many different things, positive and negative. It wasn't until I moved to Arizona did I get the people who broke that innocence and helped mold me proper. I miss those days and they were right fun.
Even so, I was still very shy; a problem I have with even today slightly. It became easier to get rid of as I become comfortable with my environment. I enjoyed my roleplaying games, especially on the computer/video games (56K Modem and Direct Connect anyone? ). But I didn't do anything spectacular other than doing Model United Nations at the University of Arizona for two years. I kept quiet and was the jokester of the class. Despite the pain and suffering throughout the years, making people laugh with or at me made it go away. That's when I started doing voices and noises and all kinds of wierd stuff that I still do today. Just another consequence in the grand scheme of things, but one I can live with now.
Tap: What's your daily life like?
Ghaleon: Hectic, as those who still talk to me can attest to. I work as a Senior Technical Advisor right now for Apple, which handles calls for iPhones, iPads, and iPods. I work ten hour days and completely crash afterwards. I am working hard to improve my work ethic so I can get promoted here.
I spend my days off with my friends and family, so I rarely have time to myself unless I am out sick or just don't want to deal with people. I do like board games and roleplaying games, but people don't like to play those or have time for them. However, I find myself wanting to be around certain people at certain times, and I hate being alone. But even I have limits on social interactions. My social circles are very important to me.
I must admit that because of all this, the time I used to spend on forums have been dropped to nearly none. I am in the process of fixing that, but I cannot be certain.
Tap: How about your future plans? What do you aspire to be?
Ghaleon: I do want to get out of the monotony of customer service and become a voice over artist and actor. I have been told to have a voice for radio (maybe there is something wrong with my face, I dunno) and I still do lots of strange noises and voices. I also wish to pursue a musical talent. Singing is one of them, but I was hoping to learn the saxophone.
Tap: Which is your favourite Ace Attorney game?
Ghaleon: Ooooh, that is a tough one. I am torn between Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright and Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations. But if I had to choose between the two to play over and over again, it would be Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright. It is NOT just because of Manfred von Karma...but I am sure others would say otherwise. ;D. But if it was for the music, Trials and Tribulations. That Dahlia character scares me anyway...gives me the heebee jeebees.
Tap: Are you excited for the upcoming (digital-only) release of Dual Destinies?
Ghaleon: Does a mouse eat cheese? Does a fish breathe in water. Hell yeah, I am extremely excited for this release! I've seen some articles and I saw a little bit of spoiler as far as characters go, but it doesn't upset me one bit about the whole thing. It is exciting to play the game as it came out. I think I got my hands on the other games AFTER they came out for some time (AAI doesn't count...I like Edgeworth, but put me back in that courtroom, eh?). This is an exciting time for me and I am sure everyone else who loves the series is just as excited.
I am hoping that it does well digitally. That way, games from Japan will have easier release dates and can occur more often just by allowing people to just download them. Steam has been doing it for PC for sometime so it is not a bad idea at all. My only problem is that I do not yet own a Nintendo 3DS. Rest assured, I am saving as we speak for one! I am not going to miss this release, no siree bobby!
Hey! Maybe if this does REALLY well, they can give us a release date for Phoenix Wright vs Professor Layton? AMIRITE?! (yeah, this subject has me a bit more energetic )
Tap: What was the first game you ever played?
Ghaleon: Donkey Kong in 1989. It was one of those tabletop arcade machines in a pizzaria in San Jose, California. I was four years old. My constant playing of that warranted my family to get me a Nintendo Entertainment System that Christmas where I played mostly Super Mario Brothers, Duck Hunt, and the Legend of Zelda.
One of my fondest memories is when I got Super Mario Brothers, I spent nearly a week just running straight into the first goomba and dying over and over again. I thought it was so funny of the sound and look Mario had, it was entertainment enough as it was. Looking back... I was a stupid kid.
Tap: You've told us about your favourite old classics, but what sort of modern video games are you a fan of?
Ghaleon: There are LOTS of games that are considered modern I love. I have migrated mostly to PC and Steam so that is where I roam now. I like games like Civilization V, Borderlands, Poker Night, Command and Conquer (Tiberium and Red Alert), Mortal Kombat (2011), Marvel vs Capcom, and Bioshock. I can go into huge detail but we be here all day. As you can see from the list though, I am a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to games. There are first person shooters, roleplaying, real-time/turn-based strategy, fighting, and card games. Be that as it may, that also means I am no expert at any of them. But hey, I rather just enjoy games.
I have nearly 130 games in Steam. Sad thing is...I haven't played all of them yet. I hate those Steam games and Humble Bundles...cheap PC games are hard to beat. Not really looking forward to any of the new systems except the Wii U. I like the tablet and the HDMI ability. And Nintendo has been in my life... all my life.
Tap: What other interests do you have?
Ghaleon: I love astronomy. I have always had fascination of the stars. I spend a lot of time watching scientific videos on Youtube. I also collect cards. I used to do Magic: the Gathering, but most of the cards I collect now are playing cards like from Bicycle. I have about 55 decks I believe, all different! Bicycle Cards has this special club that I was one of the first to join earlier this year called Club 808. I get access to special decks, posters, and contests normal users don't get access to. They also sent me a letter around March that I was one of their "Ambassadors of Play More Cards" so yeah...I use that title often during real poker games, heh.
I still like board gaming, collecting them and playing. I am working on collecting a game series called Nightmare (or Atmosfear in Europe and Australia). Old VCR gaming at its best! Oh, and I cannot forget to say that I do party hard!
Tap: I don't suppose I could get you to comment on anything about American politics?
Ghaleon: Don't mind at all, but I'll make it as brief as I can since I get into debates with this stuff.
I love living here in the United States of America, especially due to the freedoms that Americans have (and we do take them from granted sometimes). However, I believe our leaders in Congress and the President lose sight of what is important and have an issue separating what we should be focused on instead of what they and their business partners want to do. I think having only two parties is stagnating our choices as a nation and making it difficult to have effective change. It is either black or white. There are no other options and that concerns me.
I could go on and be more specific...
Tap: Before we conclude this interview, do you have anything else you'd like to say?
Ghaleon: I apologize again for not being around. I say it often and I keep saying I am back and keep disappearing constantly. AAOnline has and always shall be a special place for me since it was the first place I could call my internet home. I hate also not finishing what I started. I will be trying to get some time together and fix that if time permits. I am always available for those who want to contact me via Facebook and Steam so hit me up! I'll try to slink back in soon. And thank you again for this opportunity and great honor! See you all top side!
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Ghaleon is likely to comment in this thread, so go ahead and ask your questions. He'll pop in and out, I think.
You also know he's old school, since it was only the oldies, and the irritating C-R members who used to, and still refer to AAO as "AAOnline".