This interview was done in the beginning of 2011, before @Tantra sold the site to Imperial Communications, who then sold to @PaulSonny
Hello Tantra, how long have you been working on your petsite, Akaskaenforest.com?
AkaskaenForest was created last year in November. However the site started out with different names as I started out 2 years ago creating a virtual pet site. As I worked with different individuals over the past couple of years the idea grew and is known
is Akaskaen Forest now.
What inspired you to make Akaskaen Forest?
Well about 2 years ago my favorite and only site I belonged to shut down, I was crushed. I tried finding other virtual petsites at the time that I would want to belong to but none of them at the time compared to the other site I belonged to and was missing alot of things I wanted to have in a virtual pet site. A few of my friends were then interested in making our own site and putting in the elements that we thought were missing in sites available back then. However, since then many new sites have been created that are better than what was available when I was looking to join a site.
The idea of Akaskaen Foroest was created back in November. Before then I was working on another site, called Fantasy Depths, and it didn't work out because of various issues between some of the owners, but I will just leave it at that. I didn't feel right using the name of Fantasy Depths because it was something all 4 owners had worked on and was part of the story-line. It took me days to think of another storyline where all the worlds and original art work could still be used. I have always been intrigued with the story of the Bermuda Triangle, so I decided to base the storyline off all the worlds we had created being part of a continent, and being the original 8th continent and vanishing into another dimension forever. Akaskaen Forest is a Forest that surrounds most of the worlds and is a magical force along with the powers of the Bermuda
Triangle and is inhabited by faeries. Akaskaen Forest has 7 worlds.
What do you want to see Akaskaen Forest be like in 3 years time?
Here is some of the major goals I wish to be completed by then:
* All the pets of the different worlds released, and all the special colors for the pets released.
* All the worlds of Akaskaen Forest to be completed.
* More quests and unlimited games for the members.
* More custom features for the members.
* An unique battle system, to train and battle pets.
Why did you choose the name Akaskaen Forest?
Well the word Akaska means the 4 elements, earth, water, fire and air. Within the forest there are 4 elemental Faeries that over see all the faeries. I also just pictured a green earthy forestry, magical place, and the name Akaskaen Forest came to mind.
How do you go about picking staff when your sites new? Did you have any trouble finding them?
Well during the past 2 years it has always been easy finding staff. You advertise on a VP forum site, and have people fill out an application according to the needs of your site. However, keeping staff is a bit harder. Over the past couple of years had many staff members disappear for various reasons. However, I made a lot of friends through out this journey, and many of them are now a part of Akaskaen Forest and they help out whenever they can.
Whats your favourite thing about Akaskaen Forest and what your turning it in to?
I love working with people and creating something wonderful and making the dream come true for everyone. I also love many of the pets, and believe the members will love them too and and have a good variety to choose from to adopt. I also love that each world has its own story, and as years go on the storline can develop more and more, and look forward to the members feedback and ideas of the storyline growing.
What are excited about most in the virtual pet site industry currently?
I am excited that virtual pets sites seem to be really evolving. The art for many sites is amazing and many original ideas.
What is the hardest thing about running they your site?
Right now the hardest part is not having that many funds sometimes and only being able to do a few things at a time. Sometimes not having a big budget can really set the site back and its progress.
When did you first get involved in the pet site industry?
I will say when a friend of mine came over my house one day and was playing Neopets. A couple of days after that I was bored and decided to play under the account she created and I really enjoyed it. I would probably play it a few times a week.
Then a few years later another friend introduced me to another site, but eventually I realized many people in the site was really rude especially one of the owners so I decided to leave and find another site. I finally found Cyopets and was a part of that for a year, then it closed down . After that I decided to make a site of my own but was totatly lost, then a friend gave me the link to VPL, and since then have belonged to other VP forums too.
What is your favourite thing about petsites in general?
I really love the art. I could litterally stare at virtual pet art for hours and hours. I am always so amazed at it. Sometimes I have printed out art for sale on sites and put it on my refrigerator to just to look at and to enjoy from time to time. I also enjoy that it is more about playing games and earning points, you can make a gallery, or battle your pet, or chat to your friends in the shout box, do some quests, always something different to do.
Do you have any tips to give rising Petsite creators?
Yes, making a site doesn't happen over night. First of all it may take months and months to find a reliable and experienced programmer. Before you hire a programmer make sure you get some sample programming from them and some references.
Have a experienced reputable programmer look at the sample code to see if it is useful programming, or bunch of junk that is no good at all. Also ask around about them beyond there references to find out what kind of reputation they may have. From experience, hiring a bad programmer can really cost you and really set you back. Another tip, research all the virtual pet styles out there before you purchase any,and then decide on a style or a couple of styles you will want to purchase.
This will also save you a lot of money, because say you later on find a style that makes your style look out dated, you will have to put the funds in again to have all your pets and other art re done. Also, sometimes if you try to sell art you are no longer using it may not be the quality or style others is looking for, and you may end up being stuck with it and have no use for it. Another tip, really get to know people before you make them a big part of your site or give them a lot of responsibility or access to your site.
If you decide you want to make someone a co owner, maybe make it a trial basis to see if it will work out. Many times working with others ideas can really clash and some of your ideas that mean a lot to you can end up being lost when compromising to others ideas. With this said you should probably make sure you find someone that has compatable ideas as you and the same goals too, and make sure they are on the same page as you before you decide to work with them or not.