Origins: 2009 - 2015
On occasion I've been asked where...all of this came from. "All of this" is a pretty vague phrase, but there are countless different reasons you may have been dragged to my site. Maybe you're a subscriber to my YouTube channel, you know me as the creator of the Sly Cooper Fan Network, you read one of my published articles, or you downloaded some of my software or my game Dragon Defense for the Atari 2600. Maybe you're looking for a free designer, you saw the link on one of my forum profiles, you're a personal friend that wants to harass me on my blog, or maybe I directed you here to check out some of my design work. There are a thousand different ways you could have ended up here, but there's only one way that I ended up here. Here's my story.
I've always had the voracious desire to start my own company for as far back as I can remember. I first came up with the logo for my future multi-million dollar corporation. Frisbee Global Enterprises, in sixth grade, and completed the design in Microsoft Paint. The concept was the that Frisbee Global Enterprises had a handle on the world's economy...hey, it was my first logo, after all.
In 2010, our English teacher forced us to build a portfolio website using Weebly to host our assignments, and I just recently brought mine back online at its original domain of FrisTyle.weebly.com. After learning how to easily construct a basic website, I saw the perfect opportunity to launch my online presence, and thus my first independent website, AwesomeEpicness.weebly.com, was born.
I was never on any form of social media, so Awesome Epicness was mostly just one giant profile page. The only relevant page ended up being the blog which my friends and I chatted in over the course of a year, and it subsequently inspired them to start creating their own websites, including PerfectRandomness.weebly.com, EverythingAndJokes.weebly.com, and SleezyGuyInTheCorner.weebly.com which would eventually lead to the inception of The Group of Internet Freaks. Following the minor success of Awesome Epicness, I decided to try creating more themed websites. My first attempt at success was WindowsFailure.weebly.com which was designed to be used as a trolling prank similar to YouAreAnIdiot.org, and followed up with the hacker-themed gaming site, TangoNet.weebly.com, which was inspired by Seymour Brikhoff (AKA Shadow Walker) from the TV series Nikita. After I began running out of room on Awesome Epicness, I launched yet another Weebly website, AwesomeEpicnessGold.weebly.com, to host extra content that didn't fit in with its predecessor. But the Weebly Madness didn't end there. I created nearly fifty different websites covering a wide variety of topics, most of which I simply deleted within a few weeks. As it turned out, the process of designing and building the sites was what truly interested me.
As the fall of 2011 approached, the hype train for the fifth Elder Scrolls game, Skyrim, was off the rails. Being huge fans of The Elder Scroll's IV: Oblivion, my friend, Cheezzyy278, and I decided to see how far north into Skyrim we could get within the confines of Oblivion. It was just a stupid way to kill some time one afternoon, until it occurred to us that it might make for awesome YouTube video, and thus I decided to create a channel which launched on October 16, 2011. Since the planning and editing stage took longer than anticipated, I independently published the video Skyrim in Elder Scrolls Arena before our joint-brainchild, Skyrim Expedition (Oblivion) was released. Both videos skyrocketed in views almost immediately upon publishing, so I began dedicating some more time to making the channel professional, such as designing channel art with Microsoft Paint. Skyrim Expedition (Oblivion) would end up being my only collaboration with Cheezzyy, but its ultimately what launched my YouTube career.
One of the first games I fell in love with as a child after first received a PlayStation 2 for Christmas was Sly 2: Band of Thieves. For the uninitiated, the Sly Cooper series features an anthropomorphic thieving raccoon and his friends, Bentley (the brains) and Murray (the brawn). After Sucker Punch Productions had released Sly 3 and moved onto the Infamous series, it appeared as if the Sly Cooper legacy had come to an end, until Sanzaru Games released the original three games in high definition for the PlayStation 3. After beating each of the games on the disc, a teaser trailer titled "????" appeared hinting at a fourth Sly game. The Internet exploded, and I saw an opportunity. After a few hours of work, I launched the original shell of The Sly Cooper Fan Network on November 20, 2011. The original site consisted of a mere videos page, photos, news and blog, but over time, the site accrued around (if not more than) 100 pages. Business was slow at first, but I kept adding content and marketed heavily on YouTube, Sucker Punch forums, and The Sly Cooper Wiki, and soon I had my very first site member: Tabreez. Slowly but surely, the site gained more and more attention until it ultimately became the #2 Sly Cooper fan site on the Internet. Over the course of its existence, the site has recieved millions of reviews, and at its peak in February, 2013, averaged at about 5,000 unique visitors per day. The insane success prompted me to purchase the domain name of SlyCooperNet.com, under which the site has remained ever since.
Soon after the launch of The Sly Cooper Fan Network, my friend, The Derpa, began transitioning The Sleezy Guy in the Corner into The Group of Internet Freaks. The Derpa had been running several Minecraft servers, both vanilla and modded, over the summer and decided that he needed to form an organization in order to coordinate the server with our group of friends. After extensive deliberation amongst The Derpa, Redgoatdog (the curator of Everything and Jokes), and myself, we agreed upon a name and I agreed to help design a website and accompanying log for the club. The original design was similar to the Sleezy design at first, but saw close to ten sporadic design changes throughout its existence as nothing ever quite felt right. While the most popular themes include the Winter theme released on November 11, 2012 and the Minecraft/Matrix theme released on August 12, 2013, the site has also been dressed in a Fall Theme, a Summer Theme, a Spring Theme, a Hacker/Matrix Theme, Software company theme, and countless others. The Group of Internet Freaks, which can be found at InternetFreaks.weebly.com, has evolved substantially since its release, and mainly focuses on coordinating LAN Parties, hacking events, online Steam games, and games such as D&D. I currently server as graphic designer, web designer and admin, multimedia consultant, and hacking event coordinator.
After spending thousands of hours of my life in front of a computer, I became fascinated by them. I'd stay up all night reading Wikipedia articles on the history of computing, and I started to teach myself some minor programming with Batch and Basic in an attempt to build an ARPANet clone, FARNet. My original intent was to program an ARPANet clone for my replica of the Apple I machine - the Replica I - but I was in way over my head, and thus, the Windows batch-based FARNet was born.
As my friends and I became increasingly talented with computers and inevitibly drawn to coding, many of us signed up for a Java programming class in tenth grade. At the conclusion of the class, Cheezzyy and I teamed up once again, this time with the intentions of launching a game development company, Rotten Lemon Games (or Rotten Code Games, I forget which). Our flagship game was going to be an adventure style game programed coded in Java which would take place in a post-apocalyptic steampunk universe and follow an epic cowboy protagonist known as
Simeon von Hogflume. I drafted a rough backstory, coded a small program to demo game mechanics, built a company website and designed the Lemon logo; however, Cheezzy could never find the time to code and thus the company flopped. After the Rotten Lemon project fell through, I was a man without a country and an abundance of free time, so somehow I found myself on Deep Web. My intentions had been innocent at first, but soon took a darker turn. While my interest in hacking may have initially stemmed from Nikita and the 1995 movie Hackers, well, lets just say that a bored teenager with an Internet connection and a TOR browser can learn a lot pretty fast. I had quickly tumbled down the rabbit hole of the hacker subculture, and I never wanted to leave. There had been a few close calls over the years, but I was too enthralled to ever give up my passion. Over time, I realized that I was just another blackhat script kiddie doing more harm than good, but for a noob, even a Low Orbit Ion Cannon and some SQL injections can be as addicting as heroine.
Despite the minor setback with Rotten Lemon, things had been working out pretty well. The Sly Cooper Fan Network, GIF and my YouTube channel, Tyler Frisbee Films, were thriving, I passed Java with a 97 and was set to start Advanced Placement Computer Science (APCS) the following year. That's when disaster struck. After a few months in APCS, it was clear that I wasn't cut out to be a programmer. Sure, when it came to projects, I could pound away at my keyboard for hours and eventually come up with something that worked; however, I barely passed with a C's when it came to tests and I simply couldn't handle the level of math which the course required. I was overwhelmed, not only because my future career plans had imploded, but because my friends, The Derpa and Cheezzy, were doing fine. I had no choice but to drop out of the class. I was at my lowest - or so I thought.
I had been in a relationship with my girlfriend/best friend, Deadwoodd, for four years, though we had known each other for six. Unfortunately, my arrogance prevented me from seeing what truly mattered in life and I pretty much left her with no choice but to break up with me (just weeks after I dropped out). At first I didn't seem to care, but after a while it hit me. Unfortunately, it was too late. We haven't spoken since. After losing my passion for coding and my best friend, I was miserable and it started to reflect in my work.
Later that month (November of 2013), I noticed that 2600 Magazine: The Hacker Quarterly was asking for Hacker Perspective article submissions, so I I decided to sit down at my computer one Saturday and write about my experience. At the time, I was confused about life and angry at everyone, which I accidentally let slip through the cracks of quality control when I was assembling the composition. I never truly believed that the article would be selected by 2600 until I received an email on May 2, 2014 stating that my article was to be published in the Summer 2014 edition of the magazine! I attended HOPE X (Hackers on Planet Earth 10 conference) that summer and actually got to meet the editor that approved my work! You can check out my Hacker Perspective article here.
During the months between my article's submission and approval, The Derpa and I had formed the startup company Ethereal Technologies and began developing an app called Hacker Slang. The purpose of the app was to provide a dictionary of the terms used by the hacker subculture, and we began coding it in Object-C through a Virtual Machine running Mac OSX. The company inevitably flopped and the app was unfortunately never completed.
While I was still on Christmas break in early January in 2014, my dad found two pairs of antique glass, and like any other child of the Internet, I navigated my browser to Google in order to learn more about them. My notes quickly grew into yet another article, which I decided to take to a local newspaper. The Altamont Enterprise subsequently printed my article, A Look at History Through a Curious Lens, was published on January 8, 2014.
After the failure of both Rotten Lemon Games and Ethereal, it became abundantly clear that I was probably just going to have to wing it solo from now on. In the wake of Rotten Lemon's collapse, I launched my first personals site: Tyler Frisbee: Design and Development, and I decided that it would be a good idea to freshen-up and re-brand the domain after my publishing success which is when I launched the site in its current form (sorta, there's been several design changes over the years).
I was done with wasting my time working on dead-end projects with others, so I started my own: Cold December Air; a videogame for the Atari 2600 gaming console. I have always been heavily interested in retro technology. I can't explain why, but the scripted answer I issue when people ask is "The limitations of older systems forces developers to be more creative and requires users/players to use their imagination." I didn't actually own an Atari 2600 (yet) but I was a member of the legendary Atari Age forums and had a knack for coding, so I decided to give game design a shot. Cold Decemebr Air was inteded to be a dark drama in which the protagonist is suicidal after the murder of his wife. The game was to begin when, as the protagonist was poised to jump off of the Brooklyn Bridge, he spots his wife's murderer, and chase through the streets of 1800's Manhattan ensued.
The game didn't make it very far in development as I had started designing it during finals week in eleventh grade (supposedly the most important year of high school), I had just gotten into a new relationship in a failed and feeble effort to replace my previous one, and HOPE X was right around the corner and thus I lacked the free time to continue. However, the skills I acquired would eventually aid me in future Atari 2600 efforts.
The summer of 2014 flew by and thus my senior year of high school had begun. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and subsequently struggled with the task of selecting an elective. People had always credited me with being artistic for as long as I can remember, and since I was overly proficient with computers, I decided to take a Graphic Design class. I didn't enroll under the expectation that design would be my new career of choice, but I figured that I had to start the hunt somewhere. In Graphic Design, we would receive real clients requesting our services, whether they needed a brochure, logo, or whatever, and each student would work on a separate design. After an incredibly short deadline arrived, we'd present our work to the clients and they would pick their favorite design. It wasn't the most professional option, but it was an easy way to get free logo, so we were never desperate for work. I was desperate to have something work out for once, and I put every ounce of energy I could muster into the class. Over the course of the year, my logo design for the Saratoga Thoroughbreds BMW Motorcycle Club and my brochure design for the Clifton Park Adventure ropes course were both selected by their respective clients, and the latter design was even included in the 2015 Media Arts festival. I quickly fell in love with design, and it became readily clear that this is what I wanted to do with my life. This was the next chapter.
During mid-winter break in February 2015, I found myself possessing an abundance of free time with little to do. I was sort of in a weird spot; technically I'm an artist now, but it feels like my loyalties still lie with technology. So, I decided to take on a project that would require both code and visual design: an Atari 2600. I considered returning to Cold December Air and wrapping up some unfinished business, but I decided that it encompassed too many confusing, conflicting ideas. In light of that revelation, I decided to launch a new game: Hack Attack!
Hack Attack! was originally going to be a text adventure, but reviews of a similar concept on the Atari Age store proved that text adventures and joysticks don't mix, so I scrapped the idea. Instead, I began developing a graphical version of Hack Attack! in which you play as an anti-virus program defending a firewall against a malicious army of viruses. The game originally took on a verticle format, but subsequent to my stepdad's comment that the game looked like Space Invaders, I switched to a horizontal layout. I was enjoying how the gameplay machanics turned out; however, making graphical representations of abstract concepts such as anti-virus programs and viruses proved to be more challenging than I had predicted. I wasn't sure any of it made sense, so I had to make a change.
Dragon Defense / Hack Attack! Concept Art
Since I was happy with the game mechanics, just not the story (I guess that's what you could call it), I decided to switch the analogy of a firewall, anti-virus, and virus to the analogy of a castle wall, wizard and dragon. By collecting mana potions scattered accross the battlefield, you could cast spells to defend the castle against the menacing onslaught of dragons. After making the graphical adjustments, Dragon Defense for the Atari 2600 was born. For the first time since the launch of the Sly Cooper Fan Network, I had finally finished a new product. Now I just needed to see it through to fruition. I stressed about how I was going to launch the game, but the only people who would care were other members on Atari Age, so I decided to release the Dragon Defense in a post on the batari Basic programming forum. I also considered distributing the game on an actual Atari 2600 cartridge, so I whipped up some label art and an accompanying manual. Click here to download Dragon Defense.
Dragon Defense Screenshots
The end of my senior year was rapidly approaching, and while I did experience the occasional bought of sentimentality, I couldn't wait to ditch high school. I enrolled in Digital Media at Hudson Valley Community College in the Fall of 2015 in the hopes of pursuing my new passion for design. My first semester went well, and I've begun to build up quite the portfolio. But to be honest, I have no idea where my life is going right now. I seem to be stuck in the past as I have one foot stepping into the future. Over the year I had pretty much neglected and abandoned my most successful project to date, The Sly Cooper Fan Network, I had received a tremendous amount of emails from fans asking me to continue to update and add content to the site. I finally caved, and in November 2015 I released a host of major updates, including a new members system and beautiful web design.
That's all I've got for now, but the story will inevitably continue. I have no idea what the future will bring, but whatever it does, a behind-the-scenes look into the madness will always be waiting right here.
Page last updated 12/19/15
Page last updated 12/19/15