Well everyone, today marks the third year of TYOMA.COOL existing on the internet! I'll admit, this is actually my first time even realizing what day the anniversary was. I've always just taken gueses at when I started this site, but as it turns out, it was back in September 2019. Celebrating anniversaries isn't a thing I have historically done for anything, so for my first acknowledgement I'd like to talk about this site's history and my inspirations creating it.
Back when I started making this site, I was 18 years old, going through some troubling times. I won't get into all the details, but I had just entered college and was growing more and more distant from all the people I cared about. Everything hurt so bad that eventually I dropped out of college and spent my absent years trying to nurse myself back to health, emotionally and physically. The day I made my website, I decided it would be a sort of digital happy place. A place I could express myself and create something I was proud of. My anchor, my shining light in the darkness. That might sound dramatic, but I was a very sentimental person back then. I didn't have much that was truly "mine" back then, so my website would finally be something that was truly mine.
Around this time, I was really into Serial Experiments Lain and returned to fauux.neocities.org pretty often. It was actually the first bookmark visible on my bookmarks bar. One day, it occurred to me that I didn't actually know what the Neocities part of the url meant. I took a look and discovered my current web host... :^)
Neocities excited me because I actually had some working knowledge of web design already. In middle school, I took an elective class on web design and made a JoJo's Bizarre Adventure fan site. Well, by this I mean I made a fan site that existed solely in a folder on an old gaming laptop. I had no clue how to actually host my pages, because I definitely didn't want to mess around with a server, and I didn't want to pay for a service. I was an unemployed teen, after all! Neocities is the platform that brought me to where I am today! However, I knew I wasn't going to do another JoJo's site because it wasn't my main focus anymore. Not by a long shot.
Before I made an account, I spent some time scrolling through some websites on the front page. While it as fluctuated throughout the years, there were a few sites at the time that left a lasting impression on me to this day. The first of which was Ranfren.
I was immediately struck by how the site mixed simple design elements with hand-drawn graphics. Also, the idea of a landing page was something I hadn't seen in YEARS at that point. I initially came for the comics (and stayed for them) but also spent a lot of time exploring other sections of the site. The character data pages brought the realization that I could have an entire site to put information about my characters on, something that I didn't have a place for since Charahub closed down. The organization of the gallery was fun, and I enjoyed all the extra little downloadable content that the creator provided.
I made my site this day in 2019, but I didn't have much of an idea for what exactly I wanted to DO with it. Even though I did have that knowledge of HTML previously, I was working with some outdated standards and didn't learn anything beyond the basics. My options were limited. Very early on, I remember I had a blog page and a proto-version of my links page, but that was about it (those pages are still on the web server, I believe). I do this thing on occasion where I decide I want to imitate an artist's work ENTIRELY before losing interest and deciding to do my own thing again. This resulted in my trying to imitate aspects of Ranfren's web design. I actually did have a landing page for a while there that had a background designed similarly to the one on Ranfren's comics page.
Around February 2021, updates on my personal site came to a halt because I decided that I wanted to make a fan site for my favorite game at the time, Pathologic. I worked very diligently for a few weeks and officially launched The Gorkhon Archives on February 26th, 2021. This took up most of my focus because I was in full hyperfixation mode and wanted to make a site other members of this tiny little fandom could find content on. However, I did tease that I would eventually get back and do a massive rehaul of my site.
Working on The Gorkhon Archives gave me a lot more experience in creating an appealing website. Up to that point, I treated my website as something of a fun side project as opposed to being my main focus overall. While working on the fan site, I had explored and looked at a ton of different sites (especially those hosted on Neocities) to get an idea of how I wanted my layout to look. This is when I discovered Melon's House (usually known as Melonking.net)
I was and still am SUPER in love with Melon's personal site. Initially I had gone for a general old 90s vibe for my site, but here I had found the natural evolution of that style in Melonking.net. There were a lot of elements that reminded me of an old web sort of style (repeating backgrounds, old Geocities graphics, default serif font)... but they were all displayed for easier viewing on modern 16:9 displays AND with some fun interactive twists! The whole site oozed with personality, and I wanted my site to have some pizzazz as well.
I officially rehauled the site AND bought my current domain name on June 7th, 2021. The main element you can tell inspired my site was Melon's Nav-o-Matic navigation bar on the left side of the page. I actually really particularly loved how the actual webpage is displayed in an iframe, but I only managed to get that working properly for the navigation bar and nothing else. Oh well! Since then, I've been inspired by all manner of other sites, including my Neocities neighbor Let's Learn Together, the old design of Naru's Webrealm, Danimotora, and countless others.
As far as my site has come, so have I. As of writing this, I am currently in a loving relationship (hi Sophia!), reconnected with my friends, made new ones, returned to college, and finally began being more proactive in improving my health. While everything isn't always sunshine as rainbows, I am doing so much better than I was when I first started the site, and I am thriving. A younger Tyoma would be so proud of how far we've come.
What's in store for my site in the future? I'm not exactly sure yet. I would like to revamp the homepage slightly to put more focus on projects I REALLY want people to see. I make a lot of small thingss that I'm proud of. There's my Yesterweb Zine entry, since it's my first entry I've ever entered to a zine. There's also that Malakai Black fancam from my Notebook page, since it's my first time using Davinci Resolve and because he actually SAW the video on my Tumblr! I want these things to be front and center on my page! I also would like to begin transitioning the info from my other services (i.e. Letterboxd, Backloggd, Toyhouse) onto here, but that will take a lot of designing and graphic-making to actually implement. It's on my internal to-do list, that's for sure.
Here's to many, many more years of TYOMA.COOL!