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It's Alive!

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It's Alive!

Postby Deacon » Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:48 pm

Glad to see signs of life around here.
The lights are on, but nobody's home... :-(
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Icarus » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:08 pm

So are we!
[Petition: Player] I am ready to begin my interdimensional adventure.

A mutilated little orc murmurs, nodding as he mutters,
"I fought good today. Yuh. Fought good, 'specially for bein' the kitchen-snaga. Yuh, I did."
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby toofast » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:15 pm

Just crossing my fingers for a working game sometime next year!
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Drew7uk » Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:02 am

Very happy to see a community re-emerging here and it's great to see that we may very well have a Tolkien-based RPI back in action!

I don't mean to bash the new website whatsoever, or anyone that has spent what is no doubt a hell of a lot of time on revamping, but just a few observations based entirely on my own opinion! I've worked in online marketing for quite a while now, and I figured I'd share a few key pointers, if indeed the goal is to have a seamless, intuitive page that new users can navigate easily and information for all is easily accessible.

- The front page banner takes up a huge portion of the page. For those with smaller monitors, it'll be quite hard to access that important information effectively and quickly

- The pictures themselves seem to be very stretched and pixelated, taking away from that goal of having stirring, attractive imagery. Worth noting that some artists may also not be overly keen on that

- In an ideal world, the images should be click-able to various other parts of the website

- The navigation bar should ideally be consistent across the entire site - color, size, and sitemap. In the best case situation, the design would be entirely website wide, to give that overall cohesiveness/brand image, for wont of a better term (the old blue color scheme and consistency, for example)

- Totally personal preference, I suppose, but there seems to be an awful lot of white across the website! A themed background which spans the entire website, forums included, might be a great way to generate a "theme" for the feel of the game, for example

- Are we able to at least "theme" the forums (something like the old blue ones) so that they have a bit of character to them? Right now they feel obviously generic

There are a few other bits and pieces and I'd be more than happy to share should the parties in charge of the site wish to hear them!

Again, I don't mean to discredit the great work that has already been done already, but hopefully some of the feedback is useful :)
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Freon » Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:04 am

I'll chime in here as I come from a similar background as Drew. I used to be an Art Director. Maybe I can help.

The site is Built on Concrete 5 (I'm not too familiar with this platform) but it seems like it is fairly simple to use.

I would like to offer my skills to work on the images found on the site (if there are hi-res ones available)

Alternatively, I can help polish up the designs for you if you want. I'll need help coding it, and if the person helping me code it can implement twitter bootstrap, then we won't have to worry about screen sizes because it will be responsive.

The forums look about right, but could benefit from some blues like Drew mentioned.

Likewise, I don't mean to discredit the work done so far, but I would love to help.
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Nimrod » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:43 pm

Since I've done all the work on the website, I'll respond.

Nope... I don't take offense at all to any criticisms. I welcome them. I am NOT a website specialist, graphics are not my forte. Yes, it is a Concrete5 based site with a bootstrap based theme.

The site should be fairly responsive to different platforms, but it's not perfect.

Pixilation is a known issue, I just need to find the time to get some better images, or have someone create better images that I can then place on the site. If anyone wants to take the time to contribute some graphics, you can sift through the works of Ted Nasmith and John Howe. I think the images on the homepage are 1500X600. I modified existing images on pixlr.com so they fit.

I knew absolutely nothing about css before starting this project. I bumped into the bootstrap css from twitter and fell in love with the style. I actually began creating a website from scratch (we're still using part of that for some back-end stuff), but we made the decision to go to Concrete5 to allow for easy modification in the future.

I've learned a lot and think the final product is fairly good, but I know it can be even better. My theory on websites is that they are never complete. They are constantly evolving, slowly getting better, changing direction slightly. What you see now is our starting point. We don't envision major changes, just slight ones that slowly bring everything together.

As for the style differences between our homepage, forums and wiki, there is no helping that at this time. We could match the main website and forum if we went back to Joomla, but that's not going to happen as long as I'm still breathing. :P The forum style is the rockettheme 'tachyon' - which was what soi was using before. It's a multi-platform theme that we were using with Joomla and the forums.

I've done an extensive search for other themes for the forums and tried several before we agreed to just move forward with tachyon.

If you're a web-professional and are interested in helping with maintaining our site feel free to drop Frigga a PM. We probably won't be doing anything major with the site for now, but updating graphics is not a big deal (that's something that folks can help with without access to our backend). Feel free to email me an images you think would look good on the site.

I appreciate all the feedback! Thank you! :)
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Drew7uk » Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:43 pm

Great to hear, and thanks again for the work you've done so far on it Nimrod.

As a sidenote, in relation to your theory on the development of a website (and Freon might be able to chime in here as well), there are a few ways to handle conception and implementation. This is super fresh in my mind too, as we're right in the thick of redesigning a new web portal at work.

1. Depending on the workload of the planned site, you can conceive and sitemap everything in one go - planning for the future as much as you can (allowing it room to grow itself). This is heavy in the short-term, much smoother in the long-term.

2. Release the site in phases - focus on a few major implementations (the most important ones) for Phase 1, making sure that all the basics are there, and that you leave room for Phase 2 items to slot in nicely. This is medium workload throughout the phases.

Recurring theme in either approach is, "Plan for the future". Finding yourself in a situation where 2 years down the line means there's no room to add new features, categories or sections and you'll find yourself with either 1. a dysfunctional site or 2. another revamp on your hands.

Outside of that the current website does the job to be honest, and I suppose you can't really ask for much more than that! But I think if the goal is to use the website to draw as many people to the game as possible it may need some larg(er) refinements.

Anyways, I'll leave it there on the topic! Thanks again, Nimrod.
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Freon » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:27 pm

Nim,

I'm a graphics guy. I'll go look for images and I'll send you some designs of the site on a grid for full width, 960px, ipad and iphone that you can slice and mock up for the site if you want to use them.

I think that your platform choice is good from what I've seen. Most of my experience is with Wordpress however. Had you guys gone with that, I would have been doing cartwheels but Concrete5 looks quite ok from what I'm seeing so far.

Cheers!
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Drew7uk » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:21 am

Removing bug report to the other thread :D
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Frigga » Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:45 am

Are we able to at least "theme" the forums (something like the old blue ones) so that they have a bit of character to them? Right now they feel obviously generic


We actually discussed this amongst staff a bit ago, returning to the "old" SOI-style website and forums, but for me, personally, I like a website with more graphics (for those who remember, ye old pre-2011 SOI website didn't really have any graphics), and by all reports, the new website will be easier to work with and maintain.

(Which is a big plus for me, personally. :lol: )

We could stylize things though, are there any particular Phpbb forums styles that people find interesting?
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Drew7uk » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:50 pm

I definitely get the ease of maintenance aspect, think that makes sense given limited resources. I guess I'm a sucker for the real theme/atmosphere the old site gave across its entirety - consistency, simplicity. I have no idea what it was like on the backend though.

Anyway, couple of ideas for general styles/templates which could work with some changes:

https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/styl ... tasy/demo/ - fantasy themed

https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/styl ... olor/demo/ - not the color scheme, but gives a nice example of customizing the top banner/background

http://demo.phpbb3styles.net/WoWMistsofPandaria - another example of a nice header and background style

https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/styl ... eams/demo/ - Celtic themed (could change for desired effect?)

https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/style/archaik/demo/ - some decent character to it, but would need heavy modifications
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Freon » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:29 am

having fun with the mockup, will post it soon :)

One roadblock is that I am having a bit of trouble finding pictures big enough. (John Howe and Ted Nasmith have small ones on their respective sites)

I need them at 1600px or bigger naturally. (not enlarged through photo software)

Nevermind, I found some awesome ones.
Last edited by Freon on Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Drew7uk » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:38 am

Freon wrote:having fun with the mockup, will post it soon :)


Woot! Looking forward to it! :D
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Freon » Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:16 pm

ROAR! with the holiday madness going on in full swing, I have not had time to work on the design. As soon as I have a free bit, I'll go and polish it up.

Sorry to keep you all in suspense.
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby CBT » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:23 pm

Hopefully this kicks off shortly. I can't wait.
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby sagachi » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:49 pm

Good to see some life back in the game. I was greatly disappointed when SoI2 closed, and even more so when SoI3 launch failed disasterously. So what is the new path we are trudging here?

BTW I have been doing more study in Lua if you guys are using it and need a debugger, I can usually find problems and fix them.
Winter is coming...
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Nimrod » Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:04 am

sagachi wrote:BTW I have been doing more study in Lua if you guys are using it and need a debugger, I can usually find problems and fix them.

No Lua here, Sagachi. Nice to see you about though. :)
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Re: It's Alive!

Postby Eugene » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:23 am

I will find a way to blunder around.
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