you like to read about how this site got started? If so, you're in the
right place. This is where I describe Rail!'s beginnings and changes
throughout the years. Ah, memories.
version 0 (2000): I daydream. I plan. I procrastinate.
registered the domain name Railentertainment.com in October of 2000.
My original aim was to have a website that contained jokes, articles,
Flash animations, and video clips. However, the number one reason I
started this site was to showcase some games I was working on.
Unfortunately, I am currently better known for my animations, since
none of my more ambitious games have been finished. In all my years of
game programming, I only have Castles & Cheese to show for it -
and let's face it folks: Castles & Cheese sucks.
This version of Rail! was hosted by 8m.com. As part
of the terms of agreement, I couldn't use profanity. I also couldn't
upload any files over (guessing) around 1 MB. These limits prevented
me from creating the site I truly wanted: A site where every other
word is a swear word. A site with unnecessarily large .zip files.
Although the site design is amateurish and simple, it already has the
Orange/Blue color scheme which subsists through all future versions of
the site. At this point, all Rail! had were links to a few friends at
The Ritalin banner was from Chickenhead.com's Bannertown.
Man, I wish I designed that banner.
version 0.5 (2000, 2001): I
like this layout. With a little more polish, it could've been pretty
cool, though it lacks the "comic" appearance of later
versions of the site. It also used frames, so it got kinda
The Jokes section was taken directly from my old
Prodigy home page.
This version of the site also featured a chat room,
but it never got any visitors (as far as I know).
The Games section
didn't contain any of my own creations yet - It simply contained links
to a few of my favorite online games. Most of these games hang around
on Popcap.com and
MSN.com these days.
I like how I have an ad
for a Sadistic Talent recording I'm STILL working on in 2004. God I suck.
Check out the old-school Penny-Arcade banner.
version 0.7 (2001): This
is a throwaway design, but I'll let you see it anyway. This version of
the site probably didn't last more than a few weeks. I'd just
purchased FrontPage, and it's obvious. That's clearly a FrontPage theme there, my
friends. I called the MP3 section "Bands", because it
simply contained links to MP3.com bands featuring myself or my
friends. I wrote the first two or three "Docs" for this
version of the site.
version 1.0 (2001, 2002): Ah, The first major design. This is the first
time I actually paid for web space. I used Your-Site for webhosting at
the time ($5.00 a month). I used a trial version of Photoshop and
Blambot fonts for the
logo. The trial version disables saving, so I had to Print Screen and
paste it into another program. The button bar was done in Flash. I used
FrontPage's "Include HTML" feature to insert the header.
I made my first Flash cartoon "I
Like My Women Inbred" during this period, hence the Animation
section. I got a few feeble hits, but
no big traffic.
I uploaded a few MP3's of my own music. Nobody listened to them.
I also finally had enough webspace (50
MB!!) to put up video clips, so I had the Misawa Video section
available. Misawa Video featured clips from a few friends' video art
projects in High School. I was in a couple of them. This section was
mostly for nostalgia purposes. Most of my bandwidth during this era
was from the Misawa Video section, with only a few people linking to
my "I Like My Women Inbred" animation.
Version 1.5 (2002?): This
version is not much different than the previous. I just replaced the
header section, from what I can remember. Here's what it looked like,
At the time, I was working on a dark monitor, so I
had a great fear that the orange might be too bright. I actually sent
emails to several friends asking "Is that orange too bright? I
can make it darker, if you want."
My first Flash game, Castles & Cheese (mentioned
above) was added to the site as a beta version. I never truly finished
the game. It's got an ending and all, but I really wanted it to be
longer. And better.
2 (2003?): I switched to PHP for the site
template. From now on, I only have to change 2 files to change the
appearance of every page on the site. When I first did this design, I
thought it was the most beautiful website I'd ever seen. Now it looks
very dated and low-budget. Right about here is where Rail! started to
achieve a small bit of popularity.
I finally changed the logo to simply say
"Rail!" as I intended all along.
Around this time, I had a little idea
to rewrite a children's book I did for a high school art class. It
featured a ball that ended up far away from home, got run over by a
truck, got repaired, then made its way back home. At first, I wanted
this to be a series of images for the site, in a "click to go to the
next page" format. Like a book. For some reason, I decided to do it in Flash instead.
The final product, "Bob the
Ball" became popular enough to cost me over 30 GB of bandwidth in about
2 days. My web-hosting plan at the time only allowed 6 GB of
bandwidth, so I had to pay the difference out of my pocket. Simply
put, I had
outgrown my webhost overnight. I shut down the site, and put up an
|WOW. JUST WOW.
I really appreciate all of the attention over the Bob the Ball
animation, but my web hosting service just wasn't ready for the
traffic. This is really unexpected.
I'm currently looking for a new hosting plan that'll be able to handle
the bandwidth without costing me an arm and a leg (If you know of a
good, cheap hosting plan that allows over 100 GB month in bandwidth,
please contact me).
Hopefully, this will all be resolved within a week or so, and you can
get back to watching cartoons, and I can get back to neglecting my
P.S. - Bob the Ball is available at other locations on the internet.
(2004. Yer lookin' at it): I'm nearly satisfied with this design. There are still a
few glitches that I need to fix, and a few things that can be
optimized, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with it.
News posts are now on the front page of
I removed the Misawa Video and Jokes
sections to streamline the site and concentrate more on original
I removed the chat room because, well,
nobody wants to talk to me.
Rail! merchandise is now available at CafePress.com. I have a Rail!
mug, and let me tell you: It's
the best damned mug on the planet.
I started using R3 Digita for web hosting, but I
outgrew the 20 GB limit as soon as Bob the Ball 2 was
finished and several thousand 14-year-olds clicked it simultaneously.
I currently link to Flashplayer and Newgrounds mirrors
for the Bob animations, because the bandwidth
gets ridiculous. I hope to host my animations here again someday.
As of this writing, Rail! will
celebrate its 4th birthday in less than a month (October 14, 2004). I've still got a lot
planned, so I hope people keep stopping by.
This site best viewed using Internet Explorer at 1078 X 768
Site design by Michael Laskaris.
Copyright 2001-2008 Michael Laskaris. All rights reserved.