Year Three Retrospective

This site is three years old today. Running this site has felt a bit like real life: the first year was like college, where I did a lot of dumb things and generally didn’t know what I was doing. The second year was like transitioning from school to work, where I was happy to be making money, particularly happy to be spending money, and discovered new interests, met new people, and started trying to make sense of where I was going. The third year was a bit like a job; this site is just what I do now, and I do it without really thinking a lot about it. That’s not a negative thing, mind you – this site is far more fun to run than my day job. But though it’s fun, maintaining this site is a routine to me – a comfortable routine, to be sure, but it’s not as surprising or novel as it was during the first or second years.

I don’t talk a lot about me on this site – at least, I don’t think I do, although I suppose I wouldn’t know if I do – but today I indulge myself, and I’ll write a bit about what it’s like to operate Tentacle Armada.

Looking Back
I think the pictures have gotten better over the last year. I used a lot more sets and specially-built backdrops, which hopefully have done a good job of complementing the figures placed in front of them. More significantly, I spent a lot of time learning about elementary photography topics, particularly lighting and composition, which I was completely ignorant of prior to around mid-2011. I also made a significant effort to get better at postprocessing, and I think I now have a much better understanding of Photoshop than I did at this time last year. And Lightroom as well, which I integrated into my workflow last summer. This past year, with respect to my status as a photographer, I feel like I’ve moved up from completely clueless to beginner status, which I’m happy with. Three years isn’t all that long to be doing this thing, and I’m looking forward to learning more and getting better this year.

One thing I don’t think I do much of now is experimenting. Last year, I experimented a lot with different lighting setups, backdrops, and framing styles – mostly out of necessity, admittedly, since I lacked the knowledge to try anything with intention. I’d like to do more of that; I’ve settled into a few motifs that I’ve used several times (church background, printed sky background, decrepit warehouse background, Japanese-style background, and so on), but I feel my most creative period started with my Senhime post and ended with my review of Alter’s Asuka. I’d like to return to that feeling of wonder and adventurousness, when I tried new things out just for the hell of it.

I’ve written 191 figure reviews now, and one would think that at this point, chucking them out should be second nature. Actually, I think writing about figures has gotten a lot harder for me. There have been more than a few times where I’ve been very tempted to write, “Just look at the pictures” as my review text. Writing about production quality is particularly uninteresting to me; I really don’t care to go over the figure with a magnifying glass and write about seam lines or mold marks or whatever. The increasing difficulty of writing might be a sign that I buy too many figures that don’t move me, or maybe it’s an indication that I’m repeating myself too often.

Anyway, let’s look at the site stats. During the past year, this site received 447,697 visits and 1,986,217 pageviews. The total stats for the lifetime of this site look like this:

Currently this site receives about 1,900 visits and 9,200 pageviews per day. Traffic increased substantially last summer, thanks mostly to Google, and has been on the rise ever since, which is pretty cool.

However, as I said last year, I still don’t care about what the statistics represent. I still don’t market my site. I still don’t banzai-comment on other websites. I still don’t do link exchanges. I still don’t care about Facebook, Reddit – I don’t even know what Reddit is – Flickr, or other social networking sites. You will never see me link my Twitter account here, and I don’t care about how many Twitter followers I have. My interest is in becoming a better photographer, not social marketing. I’m very proud that this site’s growth has been driven entirely by the content that I’ve generated rather than how vigorously I’ve prostituted it.

Looking Ahead
I don’t plan on making any big changes to this site or the way that I do things. The focus will still be on figure pictures and reviews, and there will also be the usual dakimakura cover reviews, preorder posts, and so on. One thing that I plan to do more of is write about photography, since that’s now my favorite hobby and I think there are a few people who may be interested in that. Curiously, that presents an issue in that I fully express my love of hentai, which makes it more difficult for this site to become a mainstream source of photographic information. One would think that photography and pornography ought to go well together, but unfortunately there are a lot of people who are uncomfortable with anime porn. That said, it’s only an issue if I let it become one. Being that this site is entirely about my interests and what makes me happy, and that I don’t really want this site to become mainstream anyway, my photography posts are going to coexist with my doll porn posts, and anybody uncomfortable with that is free to search for photographic knowledge on other sites, such as a gear forum.

So, that’s another year in the books. Here’s hoping that year 4 is just as much fun.


<3
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55 Responses to Year Three Retrospective

  1. Asa says:

    Good to hear you plan to keep doing it, with some more photography; that’s what makes you unique among figure reviewers that I’ve seen, you talk about the shooting, while most focus exclusively on insignificant details of figures.

    If you’re having trouble writing that sort of stuff in reviews; don’t. Let the pictures do the talking on quality. You can mention how a base or accessory was a pain to attach or whatever, but no need to talk about crappy paint, mould seams or whatever else. Just show it. We can see that from your wonderful pics. Talk more about the character, their setting, why you bought the figure etc (which you do anyway, but can just keep doing that). Personal quips and anecdotes are what make your reviews good. The story of your tentacle stand still makes me smile.

    Also, fuck social networking. It is damnable. It’s being integrated everywhere now and I loathe it. I have to separate FF addons to block advertising/cookies/FB plugins and other stupid interlinked crap. I just started using Minus, a new image host, because it doesn’t resample/resize pics like imgur does, and also allows large files. It is trying to be all socially networkable stuff with instant twitfacing of new uploads and stuff, but fuck all that. I just use it for a very simple image host. Even if random people “follow” me or “like” my pictures, I just… don’t care. I mean, sure, it’s somewhat flattering some people like my crappy photography (though most hits are on Touhou wallpapers) but I’m not getting in to the social networking stuff it pushes and don’t care to communicate with these randoms. Even when I still played MMOs, I hated pug/random people… but that’s an entirely different kettle of fish.

    Anyway, happy birthday Tentacle Armada. I hope you have another productive year. And I shall try to absorb as much photographic knowledge as possible.

    • Tier says:

      That’s probably what’s going to happen; I think I talk less about technical stuff than I used to a year or two ago and for figures from well-known makers, it’s usually not too big a deal. I’ll probably keep talking about it with less-popular manufacturers, or frequently inconsistent ones like Daiki Kougyou or Yamato.

      Ha, man, I loathed PUGs and random people in every MMO I’ve ever played. I hardly ever grouped outside of my guild when I played EverQuest even though that game basically forced you to group due to a lack of content outside of dungeons (a friend and I usually just killed town guards instead). I disliked grouping so much in Warcraft that it took me a couple of months just to queue up for battlegrounds because I didn’t want to deal with playing with people I really did not care to play with.

      Yeah, I think a big part of my rant stems from the trend you describe, where social media and social networking and social whatever keep getting integrated into everything. It might not be obvious from the way I run this site but I’m an extremely private person and I really don’t care to share my life on the internet. When Google rolled out Google Plus, I spent a lot of time making sure that my main Google account was sanitized of any indicators of who I am.

      • Asa says:

        Haha, yeah. I never grouped with randoms in EQ. Granted, I was a Bard, so I didn’t have to, just kited my way to 60 (and beyond, when levels rose) and after I started raiding only grouped with guildies I liked (given 72man raiding in EQ, guilds were large and naturally there were many people I didn’t like). Nice 50 AA per night groups. It was good times though, I kind of miss it in a way. Everything now has made stuff too easy/fast/boring trying to cash in on WoW’s success, instead of just trying to be their own game and selling on their own merits. It’s why I’ve more or less given up on MMOs.

        And yeah, I’m a very private person. I never reveal any real details of myself online, not even my closest/oldest friends know my age or name, and certainly not my address or anything else that may lead to identification. I never use my real name anywhere online other than for online ordering, and those accounts are always 100% separate to my “social” ones. Not that I am social, really. I use a few forums sporadically (used to a lot more) but 99% of my social contact is just IRC and steam.

        I like it that way. Some people may find it weird, but I just don’t see why such details are relevant in online settings. I even gave up openly disclosing my gender, because it generally leads to one of two reactions: disbelief (nowai ur a gurl, no girls on the internet) or being hit on. Now I just don’t bother correcting people when they call me dude or whatever, not worth the trouble.

        Also, I think it’s to do with the fact I’ve been online since well before the web boom. Back in the 80s and 90s, people just didn’t use real names or share much if any real info, it was all just an alias/handle, and people were fine calling each other that. It was only in to the 00s after the web boom (more specifically the spread of broadband, I think) that “everyone” started using it, and brought all the social sphere stuff along. Now it’s all real life everywhere, employers fire people based on shit on their facebooks, or won’t even hire them in the first place. Fuck that. I’m not a fan of legion and all that anon stuff, but I certainly keep my online identity completely separate to my offline one.

        • Tier says:

          I’m a dummy who played a paladin, so not only did I suck at soloing, I got a big experience penalty for playing a hybrid class. I remember one time early in the Kunark expansion, I got a helmet that cast a +HP buff on myself, which I could use to heal without using mana. A friend of mine who played a druid watched me try to kill a forest giant and was just shaking his head as I rooted it, backed up, helmet-healed, and slashed at it for like ten minutes.

          Haha, yeah, I remember about 15 years ago when my dad got a CompuServe subscription, I was looking around at the Commodore 64 section, and some random dude started up a conservation about old computers, and I got so freaked out I closed the client. That pretty much set the tone for the way I use the internet.

          • Asa says:

            Haha, poor pallies. In the later game (Planes, probably, Luclin was still dominated by Wars iirc) they became the best tanks for group stuff, and even quite a bit of raid game. Fortunately I played my first 40 levels duo with a friend (also a druid), then she got busy but I had already become able to kite, so had no problem soloing to 60 and beyond when levels expanded. And all those delicious AA. Though I play MMOs for the group dynamic, not to solo. I can’t even play SP games any more, still haven’t finished Dragon Age II and I’ve had it since launch day… I just get distracted and bored unless the story really grips me, without friends to muck about with and continue on through the boring parts.

            That sounds like a worrying way to start online. I first got online in 1981 (really showing my age I guess) with a 2400baud modem the size of a briefcase, and back then the internet was all boffins and geeks, most of whom were quite friendly, also BBS’ were less “user friendly” and early dialup was dismal so you didn’t get the plebians you find all over these days. I don’t remember a whole lot about it as it was over 30 years ago now, but I never suffered any trauma. By the time IRC and such came along I was already immune to the stupids.

            though I will never forgive AOL and similar mass market ISPs distributing “net lingo” sheets teaching people to use “lol i no u h8 rite” type “internet slang” that really made it much more widespread than it actually was before they spread it everywhere. Death of the English language. Even worse now with phones, it’s well engrained in the net culture, and I’ve even seen facepalm inducing news stories of universities and such starting to accept it in papers “As long as the point is established” type excuses. No. Fail those morons who replace “you” with ‘u’ (and worse) in homework, assignments, and most certainly in a thesis. But I guess I just showed I’m not only old, but angry. Not really what I’m going for.

  2. azn0will says:

    That’s a muffin…not a cupcake…

    Well, Happy Birthday Tentacle Armada!

    As a frequent visitor, I’m glad that the site has been healthy and continues to flourish. I’ve enjoyed all of the reviews that have been posted on the site, and will continue to enjoy those that will come in the future.

    To address the social networking topic, I would like to say that I’m content with Tentacle Armada not being linked to any–by saying that, I mean it in the most respectful and non-offensive way possible. I’m happy with the amount of visitors that this site gets now because it establishes a micro-community. If it were ever to become overpopulated, the feeling of being exclusive will be eliminated. What I’m trying to say is that this site kinda gives off an exclusive feel to it because of the proportional amount of visitors it gets.

    I dunno, maybe I’m just rambling, but through this site, I’ve met/seen regulars here and because of that I don’t feel like a statistic and that my comments on here are actually heard/read, unlike the bigger sites where they just get overlooked.

    I’d like to end my little rambling with, the sites pictures are f*cki*ng amazing! Best photos I’ve ever seen in any review.

    P.S. Thanks Tier for managing your site so well.

    **Censored myself because I’m not sure if anyone would get offended. But if not please let me know so I can articulate myself more accurately.

    • Tier says:

      It is! I like muffins more than cupcakes.

      No offense was taken and I don’t do the social networking thing here by choice. I’m happy with the little community that’s grown up on this site but I have this problem with joining other communities; in fact, in almost every community I’ve joined (my high school, Boy Scouts, two MMO guilds, etc.) I’ve ended up feeling that I needed to get away from the group. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m assuming it’s just my antisocial tendencies.

      And no offense is taken from cursing; I don’t care about profanity that much and in real life, I curse like a drunken Asian. Basically the only things I will censor in comments are racist, sexist, or homophobic slurs, unless there’s some sort of justifiable context to it.

  3. Luth says:

    Aww, I’ve been procrastinating on commenting on blogs but I can’t pass this up. Congrats and Happy Birthday TA! It’s been a pleasure to see all the great content on this site so far and the inclusion of Shot Breakdowns is much appreciated and is probably one of my favorite categories. I’ve referenced them several times while trying to learn how to use these damn flashes and they’ve proved an excellent resource. Thanks for that!

    I don’t think social integration is necessarily a bad thing, especially Twitter. Personally I feel Facebook doesn’t have a place on my blog but Twitter seems to go along with figure blogging quite well; you often quip things on Twitter that never make it to your blog but are entertaining nonetheless; I’m quite happy to follow you on Twitter and I think anyone who enjoys Tentacle Armada wouldn’t find it boring, they’re both about the same subjects and by the same person to boot. Anyways as far as having a tweet/facebook like button on your blog… I admit I have both and thinking about it, no one really uses either so I think I might remove them, haha.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! I’ll give you the advice I give to everyone who is starting out with flashguns, and that’s to get “The Speedliter’s Handbook” by Syl Arena. It’s the best book on using flashes I’ve read and it goes in-depth on using modifiers, grip gear, and light positioning, as well. (It’s technically written to be relevant to Canon users, but it’s useful for everybody. Heck, I use my flashes in manual mode only mode so the sections that are particular to Canon’s E-TTL system are as useless to me as they are to anyone who doesn’t use Canon gear, but I still think it’s an excellent book.)

      Yeah, I don’t think it’s a bad thing, it’s just not something I’m interested in. Using Twitter and such to maintain friendships is definitely a positive thing. It’s mainly the idea of using social networking as a promotional tool for a hobby-based endeavor that bothers me. There have been many times where I’ve seen people use various social tools and techniques to market their websites and I’m like man, what’s the point? Ahh, speaking of things that bother me, I was just looking through the filter list I’ve set on Tweetdeck and you know what irritated the hell out of me? All those damn people who integrated their Twitter accounts with Foamspring.me so that every time they answered a question, it got reposted as a tweet. I was going to unfollow everyone that did that until I started using Tweetdeck.

      Incidentally, I treat Twitter mostly as a great opportunity for comedy and for the last couple of years, my main goal has been to try to freak people out enough to unfollow me. The rule is that I can’t resort to something cheap and offensive like busting out homophobic or anti-Semitic jokes. Can you believe that after all the rape jokes I’ve busted out, I’ve only gotten two people (that I know of) to unfollow me? And one of those was Peter Payne, and I’m guessing he’s got some sort of software to unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow him back.

  4. willowywicca says:

    Well done on the great three years so far, keep up the good work!

  5. Zai says:

    Happy Birthday, Tentacle Armada! Looking forward to seeing what you have to offer this year and thank you for all the gorgeous photography so far.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! I should buy my site a present, to celebrate its birthday and to take advantage of the improving exchange rate. Maybe I’ll get those Masamune Shirow artbooks I saw with all the tentacle porn …

  6. TomTheCat says:

    I was one of those people who found this site in mid-2011 with the help of Google. I was searching for pictures of a particular figure and I landed here. Needless to say, your pictures were the best…

    Re social networking: I don’t care about it. I’m registered on a forum or two, and I visit this site once a day (time permitting), and occasionally I voice my thoughts. But that’s it. I don’t even know how Facebook or Twitter or whatever works in the first place, and I’m not in the slightest interested in finding out. I don’t need to tell the world “Now I’m crawling out of bed – now I’m munching my breakfast – now I’m brushing my teeth – now I’m slipping into my clothes – now I’m on my way to work etc. etc. etc.” Who cares to write something like that? And who cares to read something like that? Beats me. I don’t, that’s for sure.

    So I feel that you’re on the right track, I’m happy with this site as it is. A very big compliment on your spelling and your grammar, by the way. Although English is not my mother tongue, I appreciate it when someone is able to express themselves correctly.

    Anyway, Happy Birthday, Tentacle Armada. I hope there are many years to come 🙂

    • Tier says:

      Ha! That stuff always cracks me up. I’m not telling anyone when I’ve woken up or where I’m eating or who I’m with. I will, however, tweet about whether I’ve seen some good rape anime recently. (I hate the verb “tweet”, by the way.)

      Thanks for the kind words; I make it a point to take care with my writing. As old-fashioned and outmoded as it may be for stuff going on the internet, I always proofread everything that I post, usually several times.

  7. Aaron says:

    I found this site looking by for the Shernini dakimakura. You just so happened to have done a review of the Eva dakimakura and when I read the review I thought you might be a huge fan of Agarest. That was July 25, 2011 so that puts me right in the middle of the 2011 increase.

    I am fine with that. Obviously your site was good enough to keep me hooked even though I do not collect figures or dakimakuras. The writing is great and the photography is excellent. I definitely check the site every day to look for new entries and yours and other posts on the entries you’ve created.

    I love the photography entries (even though I know nothing about photography) and the outlook entries. I do enjoy hearing about what you do and don’t like about the stuff you buy (ie Collet’s hair not laying on the ground, the detail of the shoes on the one dakimakura, etc). I also think it is interesting to see how you do a shoot and the setup problems (Miku Append comes to mind).

    My only problem with the site so far has been that this year I will own 4 figures (Hatsune Miku Pit Crew, Purple Heart, Yuri Lowell, Zero Suit Samus) and 1 figma (Hatsune Miku 2011 GSR Race Win version). None of them you currently own or have reviewed, but your site lead me to the water and I have started drinking. I now check Amiami daily just to make sure nothing cool is coming out.

    Happy Birthday Tentacle Armada, may you have many more.

    • Tier says:

      I did play the game, though it was, uhh, somewhat repetitive. To put it mildly. That said, I’ll still probably be getting Agarest War 2 this year, though I suppose I’ll need to get a PS3 as well.

      Thanks for visiting; when I started this site, I pretty much expected that its appeal would be very limited; that is, I was expecting to attract people who like sexually explicit figures. I think that’s a minority of figure collectors, or at least it was back then, when figures were often more modest than they are now. The aim of this site has shifted somewhat, and it’s very gratifying and quite a bit humbling that people are visiting and enjoying this site despite not having a great deal of involvement in what I post about. It’s also great to know that I’ve helped get people interested in this hobby. (Though I gotta admit, the more avaricious side of me is screaming, “Dude! Get some ads up already, WTF!” But then again, I hardly ever listen to the voices in my head.)

      • Aaron says:

        I like both SFW and and NSFW reviews. Since I doubt I will ever buy a NSFW figure or dakimakura I can at least admire some of them.

        The Hotori Yoshii figure looks great, but I could never get away with it with the wife and kids.

        • TomTheCat says:

          Where do I get Hotori Yoshii now, anyway? Aren’t preorders already closed?

          • Tier says:

            Yeah, preorders are closed at most places, as far as I know. I’m sure a ton will turn up on the secondary market, though; newer Native figures usually aren’t too hard to find.

  8. here-and-faraway says:

    Happy birthday! Thank you for all the great writing and photography!

  9. Wieselhead says:

    Congratulations and thx for all your entertaining reviews in the third year

    The Shot Breakdown post were quite interesting, at first I was surprised by your huge flash collection, but it was nice to see how you recreate your backgrounds and light setups ;p
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with mixing this and the regular content, it’s not like here is anything creepy, well aside from some crazy H-game screenshots, the Yukino Hongou review turned out a bit shocking in that regard XD

    I also think that you improved again in your photography, but calling that “beginner status” is way too understating, I luv your pictures, they are awesome ^^
    I guess I know what you mean with “banzai-comment” but the word itself sounds quite creative. “I still don’t do link exchanges.” Oh then thx for adding me to your blogroll =)

    just keep it up, this figure review blogs is still one of the best.

    • Tier says:

      I even left out the most disgusting pictures from Kowaku no Toki XD Too bad I haven’t ordered any figures from hardcore hentai shows. Well, I guess I’ve ordered Imari but these days, Bible Black looks positively softcore compared to a lot of the stuff out there.

      I’m happy that people are liking the shot breakdowns, I was sort of wondering how useful they actually are. I take a lot of this stuff for granted so I’m glad that people find them to be interesting.

  10. JessyP says:

    Congrats! I don’t comment as much as I should but I think you’re right on the money in terms of what to focus on in the coming year. Photography has also become my favorite hobby. If I have any requests, I would say pick up even raunchier figures and products;) Seems like its more challenging to make filthy things seem classy which you have a talent for.

    • Tier says:

      I like this suggestion XD I didn’t mention this but my New Year’s resolution last month was to put more porn on the blog. I’m really looking forward to the possibilities that Native’s stuff and Daiki’s Imari figure will be bringing.

  11. Tian says:

    Wow, three years already. But then again I also think “it’s only been three years?” It’s really pretty amazing what you’ve been able to do in that time. Congratulations!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! I feel the same way; it doesn’t seem that long but then again, I can’t really remember what I was doing before I started up this website (okay, I was playing World of Warcraft, which isn’t all that remarkable).

  12. Jdomingo says:

    Keep up the good work! I’ve been following you for the latter of the two years and I am never disappointed from what I see here. I’m a big fan of what you do and its nice to come to a site like this and see great photography and awesome anime figures in there best light with out having to be bothered with ads and what not. Again keep up the great work!!!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks for visiting XD Yeah, no ads, I wonder what sort of money I could make off ads but they’re pretty disruptive to the page layout, so no ads.

  13. Bildungsroman says:

    Glad to hear that tentacle armada will continue on and with even greater content. Actually… I think this is the first time I’ve left a comment on this site, but I feel that this is an appropriate time to express how much I enjoy reading your figure reviews on this site. I enjoy the fact that you don’t shy away from hentai shots (which you so comically outlined in your review of Yukino Hongou) and that you don’t waste words outlining every detail of the figure (that’s what the pictures are there for!). Your review text really complements the pictures of the figure. Thanks again for for the great work that you do and congratulations on three years!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks for commenting! I’ve been concerned that maybe the hentai stuff might scare off some people but it seems like a lot of people like this stuff, so I should post more of it, I think. It’s a good thing that I’ve got a bunch of NSFW figures like Satellizer, Queen’s Gate Alice, and Tsuneko still in the review queue.

  14. Mentor says:

    Why congrats to the three year anniversary!
    I’ve only be around for about half a year now, but reading through your reviews has become part of my daily routine by now. You really managed to spark the enthusiasm for anime figures in me. 5 out of my (yet) 7 figures are because I fell in love with them in your reviews xD
    It even happened I found a figure uninteresting until I saw it being staged by you and then subsequently ordering it ^.^
    I’ve already finished reading about 60 percent of your reviews and the progress I’ve seen you go through is truly immense. It’s unbelievable how much effort you put into your scene setups nowadays. And the knowledge of photography you’ve gathered is all but beginner’s level 😉
    Your writing style is another thing I don’t ever want to be changed on the reviews.
    You manage to always keep the right balance between evaluating the artistic aspects and the craftsmanship, funny anecdotes and random ramblings, and hilarious confessions about your hentai preferences.
    So please keep it up, and keep having fun keeping it up!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks XD I’m very happy and quite a bit humbled when I hear that people have gotten into figure collecting after visiting this site. It’s great to know that people have found it to be helpful.

      Yeah, I look back at my old reviews and I usually feel two things: I feel surprised at how much better the pictures are now than they were back then. And I also feel like I want to torch the archives because some of those older pictures are so bad XD There’s quite a few reviews I’d really like to re-shoot but I think that time is better spent on newer stuff.

  15. Kixkillradio says:

    Happy Birthday Tentacle Armada!

    I found this website through someone from Facebook who shared this link. From then, I’ve been a constant visitor for checking reviews and toy photography. I especially like your Shot breakdown article, it helped me a lot. I only started collecting scale figures, and I’d like to try some of your tips one day.

    Thank you for sharing your ideas and keep up the good work!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks for coming by! I’m glad you like those articles, and I’m planning on writing more stuff about figure photography; most of it’s actually written in my head, I just need to get it all onto the computer one of these days.

  16. Tier says:

    >> Asa
    I’m one of those weirdos who plays MMOs to solo, though I met some really cool people in Warcraft and got to raid up to the last tier in The Burning Crusade. I mainly play it for the stat progression. That’s also the main reason I’m hooked on playing Robo Defense now.

    That is indeed a long time ago XD I was, uhh, probably learning how to eat solid food about that time. I always like hearing stories about how people used technology in the older days, though; I’ve got this strong sense of nostalgia for old technology. Every now and then I look through eBay for Amiga 500 listings, since that was a computer I really wanted when I was about eleven or twelve years old, and I just picked up a film camera from around 1981 a few weeks ago. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it but it was pretty cheap.

    • Asa says:

      Oh man, I loved my A500. It was a brilliant piece of kit, far surpassing other options at the time. Especially the unique and creative methods they used for video output. Also had 16bit sound when (or maybe just before) Creative had its 8bit soundblaster.

      I’m not sure about now in to the 20teens, but even in the 90s and 00s Amigas were still used in TV stations and other video production companies for certain things, even while being rather old kit. Stuff that stands the test of time is to be respected.

      That can be said for film SLRs too; can pick up amazing kit really cheap now as tons of people migrate to digital, or simply even just estate stuff. If I could be bothered with film (which I can’t; I’m five hours away from the nearest developer) I could pick up an ol’ spotmatic or similar and use all of my current lenses on it, even. That’d be neat. Pentax’ lens compatibility spanning four decades (or more, some date back to the 60s) is one reason I went with the system, and K-mount is very much still alive, even the newest mirrorless camera can use them, and their smaller compact one (the Q) just got a K adapter.

      As for MMOs, I like playing with friends and getting up to stupid stuff together. Though the current MMO scene is disappointing due to WoW’s widespread influence just handing out everything to everyone for paying the sub, no real sense of progression or achievement like EQ had. Most of us are waiting for Tera to see if it ends up being worthwhile (many doubts). We fill our time with other stuff, but the MMO grind is really the best long term group activity online.

      Also, MMO+Figures reminds me, I have two Lineage 2 figures, and just ordered a GK (prepainted) of an Elin from Tera; http://www.e2046.com/product/15525 sexy lil thing. I’d quite like a Lineage 2 Dark Elf too, but OrchidSeed has yet to re-release her like they did the Light Elf. Asian MMOs have the best character design. 😀 And beautiful outfits/armour. Which unfortunately the English translation of Tera is removing due to pedololithinkofthechildren concerns. Sad times when we can’t enjoy fictional/fantasy pettankko without being considered deviants or something.

      (trying again, I think FF failed on me, delete if it ends up a double post ^^; uuu)

      • Tier says:

        Reading up on the Amiga, it sounds like they were amazing machines, particularly for creative purposes. I kinda regret never having gotten to use one; the first computer my family got was an Apple II+ – maybe my favorite piece of technology that I ever used – and then an IBM PC clone with a 286 processor. I would’ve liked that machine a lot more if it hadn’t had a Hercules monochrome display adapter.

        Another other thing I look for on occasion is a BeBox; I actually bought the BeOS discs after they released an Intel version of their operating system, and I really hoped for its success. Too bad it never made it; though I guess if Windows hadn’t killed it off, Mac OS X would have a few years later.

        I kinda wanted to pick up a Nikon film SLR, just because I think it’d be funny to have Canon and Nikon cameras, but the lens compatibility worked against me there; since modern cameras can still mount a lot of Nikon’s legacy lenses, they cost way more than I want to spend on something that I’m just fooling around with. I’m still kinda thinking of picking up one of the older Canon EOS-1 cameras though, just to say I own a 1-series.

        I’ll be entirely honest: the only reason I’m interested in TERA is because of the bikini armor. It’s pretty much the only reason I played Lineage II and it was at least part of the reason I stopped playing World of Warcraft (Wrath of the Lich King was really weak in that respect). I’m not expecting it to be a great game, though, and I doubt I’ll be playing it. I saw someone made some graphic mods to convert Skyrim characters to TERA ones, so I may just download that to play as a hot dual-sword-wielding demon.

        I was rather surprised when I heard about the censorship, though I really shouldn’t have been. I wonder if they’ll take a hard line on the decensorship mods that I’m sure a lot of people will be using; I recall Blizzard took a really dim view of people who used graphic mods with World of Warcraft.

        • Asa says:

          I only played L2 for jiggly DE boobies. It amused me a great deal coming out of EQ with its… let’s just say, sub-par models.

          If Tera ends up being a playable game, I’ll probably play a Castanic (the demon girls) instead of Elin most people expect me to; the Elin have fat thighs, and the censored armour looks stupid, giving them lil slut shorts instead of briefs (which honestly are less slutty, at least in my view. Tight tiny shorts are very whorish to me). Also I’m not actually a fan of lolis. I like smaller chests, on adults. Not kids. Even if Elin are supposed to be a few hundred years old or some Elfy type excuse, they really look like kids. With all the babyfat on their thighs.

          EME have stated that decensoring (or any modifcation to game files) is against the EULA, but it won’t stop many people doing it. Personally I’d just symlink them, then it technically isn’t modification; I still have the originals. 😀 Wouldn’t stop bans, if they go that route though.

          Anyway, investing in another camera platform probably isn’t the smartest move, especially given what expensive hobbies figures and photography already are. Just get an older film Canon, and keep all your current lenses. 😀

          And yeah, Amiga was amazing in their hayday. Many old machines that these young whippersnappers never knew and can’t appreciate, instead just getting mad for not having SSDs and SLI graphics (well, for those who still game on PC… that in of itself is rare these days). Also a lot of obscure platforms and operating systems that never made it, which I’m kind of glad of in a way; I’d prefer unification to all sorts of different stuff. eg. DirectX is probably the best thing that ever happened to PC gaming, even if it was hated to begin with, it made development so much easier. Thus we got more games. Which is good. I like games.

          (if only I could still play them like I used to . . .)

          • Tier says:

            I played L2 for the same reason. The game was pretty much on its way out at the time, though, since Warcraft had been out for a year when I started playing and I didn’t play for longer than a couple of months. The dark elf models were fantastic but the grind was just too much. I downloaded the free client a little while back and was very disappointed to find that the newbie armor for dark elf females is much more modest in terms of backside coverage than it used to be.

            The film camera I got is a Minolta, albeit an old manual-focus one. It uses older MC and MD-mount lenses which aren’t compatible with anything anymore, and I think all the lens adapters require optical elements to focus properly, so nobody really wants them and they’re pretty cheap now. I doubt I’ll do much with it but maybe it’ll be fun to use from time to time.

            God I’m feeling old now. I’m not even that old, I think, but thinking back to CGA and EGA-era graphics and the Apple II+ I had even before that makes me think about how much more technology we have now. And here I was just a few hours ago, looking up new CPU prices because man does Lightroom chug on my computer. I was counting out one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand while loading an image in the Develop module and it took like fifteen seconds which seemed enormously tedious, but then I remember what it was like making backup disks for The Bard’s Tale with only one floppy drive.

  17. Wolfheinrich says:

    Congrats on the 3rd birthday! I really did think we started blogging about the same time, as I just had my 3rd blog day myself. More porn is just fine with me! I have to say, every time I reminded myself to stop by your blog, I am always amazed by some of the reviews you have put together, most definitely in the setup and effect you have put a lot more effort in presentation than most figure site I have come across. Once again, congrats on the 3rd birthday!

    I recently ordered a few new scaled figures to fill the void left by my figure sale events 🙂

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! Yeah, I think you and I started at about the same time, and I remember meronpan started about half a year before us, and there were a few other figure reviewers who started at around the same time. I don’t think a lot of us are left, though :O Though there are quite a few new sites now with some great photographers.

  18. BioToxic says:

    Congrats on three years. I’ll be on my way to that number this year and found a lot of what you’ve said here applies to me too. Although my growth in photography is nowhere near the same rate as yours.

    It’s good you’ve been able to integrate figure photography into you’re regular routine. I’ve found the transition from university to work has resulted in not being able to keep up with blog activity.

    Personally I’m looking forward to seeing more amazing figure reviews/photos – particularly when you’re showcasing some of the figures I decided to skip on. Plus the hentai stuff is good too :P. Although I know what you mean about mixing photography with h, or even just cast-off figures. It makes it somewhat difficult to share with others – particularly if someone asks “oh you like photography, what do you take photos of?”.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks XD Yeah, I don’t really tell anybody about this hobby, aside from some close friends, who I often consult for advice as to what figures I should buy. My parents know I have an expensive camera but have no idea what I do with it. As neat as it would be to share my work (read: show off) with family members, I’m pretty sure I don’t want any of them to read what I write on this site, so I’m keeping my activities to myself.

  19. Phil says:

    Time seems to past fast heh. Honestly, this site is the only figure site I frequent nowadays. Keep up the good work man.

    • Tier says:

      It definitely does. Shoot, I can’t even remember what it was like back when I had time to play a ton of video games. And thanks for the kind words XD

  20. Asa says:

    Haha yeah, L2 is sad times now. For many, many reasons. MMO market is stuck in a rut, imho. >.< Shame, I could use a timesink like one now I'm not working anymore.

    Eh, too much cost to put in to old kit like that, really. If you can get a whole set from an estate sale or something, fine, but actually going out of your way for bits and pieces is too time consuming for too little reward, really. 😐

    And man, don't talk to me about feeling old. I have all sorts of stupid moments, getting increasingly more common as time goes by. For instance, looking at someone's profile on a forum (or MFC etc) after they make a post/comment that raises my attention, to see their birthdate is like, 1990 or something, and I think "pfft, kids" . . . then I have to do a doubletake, because that makes them 22 now. For some reason I still think it's the early 00s not in to the teens. Even people born in the 80s are kids to me, those born in the 90s now being (technically) adults is disconcerting. And it only gets worse as time goes by. Look forward to it. <3

    • Asa says:

      Oh, also re: slow compy, get an SSD (the prices are plumetting) to use for your LR catalogue. SSDs are the greatest improvement to computing in a very long time. I adore mine, and I’m getting another soon. Just stay away from OCZ and their amazing failure rates, stick to Intel, or Crucial’s M4 (really cheap on Amazon atm, though they need a firmware update to avoid asploding at 5211 hours).

      Of course, RAM is stupidly cheap now too, and Intel’s current Sandy Bridge is amazing, with Ivy Bridge due soonish. Computing is like never before. In 1970 the greatest super computers peaked at 10 MFLOPS, now supercomputing is going to break exaflops before the end of the decade. Hell, I’m pretty sure smart phones and tablets do dozens if not hundreds of MFLOPS. Who’da thunk in the 70s that power that took up entire buildings, a crapton of cooling and a small powerplant to run would one day fit in a pocket.

      Anyway, throwing more RAM, an SSD or two (one for system, one just for LR catalogue, probably optimal) and if you want to do an entire platform upgrade, a new CPU (Intel’s 2011 CPUs and quad channel RAM would eat LR) is the go. Of course, not all that cheap, given 2011 is more server and serious workstation oriented than 1155… which is still plenty fast. Could do a very nice build for under a grand. And given how serious you are about photography, quite probably worth the investment.

    • Tier says:

      It also doesn’t help that most of the characters in anime and Japanese video games are teenagers, so I’m twice the age of many of them. At times it feels really weird to be buying figures of characters that young and I wonder if I’m too old for this hobby. Then I remember that many people my age watch television as their main hobby and I don’t feel so weird anymore. It’s probably been about fifteen years since I followed a television series other than anime or sports.

      My next computer will probably have an SSD as its system drive; maybe even two, if I want to get a small-capacity drive to use as a scratch drive for Photoshop and Lightroom. It will also certainly not have an ATI video card; I’ve had nothing but trouble with ATI cards, particularly the one I have now (I think it’s a 5770 or something). To wit, these have included random driver crashes (the famous atikmdag.sys lockup), a giant mouse cursor (the workaround was to turn on mouse pointer trails; ATI issued a hotfix for this problem a few years ago … and then excluded it in their driver release the following month. It took them several more months to get their thumbs out of their asses to fix the problem in their mainstream driver package.), a pink color cast on my monitor (the workaround was to increase the display color temperature by 100K), and consistent crashes while installing new Catalyst drivers (I stopped updating new drivers a long time ago). It’ll probably also have a ton more hard disk space since if Canon decides to go the huge-megapixel route in their future camera generations, RAW files are going to be humongous.

      • Asa says:

        ATI has plenty of driver issues, though they’ve been fine for a while now (for me, anyway, people using multi card setups still have problems) but honestly given the amount of photoshop and lightroom and such you use, you should have an nvidia card anyway; adobe widely sports CUDA through most of its software, and it can make a pretty drastic difference to performance, particularly with as you say, massive RAW files. Much faster rendering and applying filters and whatever to it all.

        SSD system drive is simply a must have now; I find it difficult to use my other computers without an SSD now, the speed on my primary desktop has spoiled me terribly. Waiting even a few seconds for something to load on my other compies or friends’ etc is an ordeal. ;.; But fortunately prices have dropped significantly, can get twice the size for half the price mine cost, so it’s well worth having one for system, and given how much you work with PS/LR, definitely one as a scratch/catalogue drive.

        And yeah, I think I’ll always like anime. I always have, and age has nothing to do with it. If people think my hobbies are childish, that’s their problem, not mine. I do what makes me happy and anyone else be damned. 😀

        • Tier says:

          I’ll probably be looking to get a new computer in the next year or so. Probably the next major computer purchase I’m going to get is a second monitor; I’ve been holding off getting a second screen since I’m not sure whether I want to shell out for a 30″ display or settle for another 24″ monitor. I’m kinda leaning towards wanting the bigger screen but the difference in price is really significant (nearly the cost of a new computer, I think).

  21. samejima says:

    Samejima of uselessthoughts.net here.
    It’s a month-old late but belated Congrats on your blog’s 3rd year.
    I seldomly visit your blog but for sure, I enjoy reading and viewing them, photos are impressive and really creative and so as the detailed review. Keep it up.

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