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Pimping out the UGS Forum for 2011

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#1 TiM

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 08:01 AM

Alroighty (*Australian Accent*). XD

I'll be using this thread to post updates on the forum as I try and take it from the base Invision installation and make it look a bit more like our own. :D

Feel free to jump in if you have any suggestions on improving the board, or if there's anything you don't like the sound of. :D

-TiM

#2 TiM

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 08:15 AM

So the first point I would like to talk about: putting some advertisements on the board (and the site when it's ready).

Maintaining the UberGames site isn't free and up until this point, I've been paying for basically everything here (Domain registration, forum licensing etc) out of pocket.
This has been fine up until this point where it's twigged I probably should start saving up for my own living space. XD

Being able to generate some actual money off the UberGames site would be totally awesome, but I would be totally thrilled if we even got it to the point where it paid for itself.

I'd only entertain the idea of ads on the board if they meshed well with the design, were always aesthetically pleasing, and were REALLY relevant to the topics on hand here (eg, video games, but to a lesser extent other geeky things)
Probably the best example of this I've seen to date is the advertising that Penny-Arcade employ on their sites, but I'm sure they're a special case given the traffic they receive. XD

Either way, I'll be doing some research into various advertising services and I'll be factoring in advertisement space into the design.

Let me know what your spin is on this. :)

#3 TiM

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 08:23 AM

This is a topic that garnered a pretty heated debate on Twitter: should the width of the forum layout be fixed, or should it resize to fit the window size (ie fluid width)?

There's a lot of opinions on this one. Fluid width is often the preferred layout for forums, but given the absolutely ridiculous sizes of some modern monitors these days, where an entire paragraph could get drawn on one line, I wonder if it's really a good idea.

The results of the Twitter debate was that the window should be given a fluid width, but also locked down with a maximu width CSS style, so it will stretch within reason.

#4 Harry Young

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 02:34 PM

As for ads: I don't think that much would come together with that plus ubergames in recent years had a pretty narrow focus on rpgx.

As for the width: I think having it within fluid limits is the best way to go.

#5 khamseen

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 03:12 PM

I'm fine with ads, I don't mind them really, I ignore them for the most part on all sites to be completely honest. If you feel you want to try them out though then why not eh. :)

For the width, I would be happy with a fluid width setup, however I had complaints from a couple of people who use these boards when I changed our forums to a fluid width a year ago ironically because their monitor resolutions were set ridiculously low and it caused the site to be displayed all 'wonky' for them.

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#6 TiM

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 01:49 PM

Yeah UberGames has been focusing primarily on RPG-X in recent years, but I plan to change that with my upcoming iPhone development and a few other projects I want to start pushing. :D

And surprisingly enough, after getting CloudFlare integration, we actually found out that the UberGames domain is actually way more popular than we actually realised (something like the order of tens of thousands of hits per week. Not exactly sure why yet. Could just be spam bots. XD), so it maaaay actually be viable to make a little bit off ads. And it wouldn't have to be much. 20 bucks a month would cover basically all of the maintenance fees.

Oh okay cool. So the general consensus is fluid width then? Okay I'll try and keep that in mind. XD Yeah, I also remember the old theme breaking if you viewed it in smaller windows. I think it was the SteamerCard/GamerCard's fault.

#7 TiM

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 04:02 PM

Alright. This one might be a bit more controversial.... Re-arranging the boards on the UberGames forum.

Back when I first made this thing, I thought it would be smart to break off every single thread category into their own separate boards. Looking back on that now, we have quite a few boards which have less than 10 threads in them.

So I'm thinking of merging a pile of the boards together, and using IPB thread categories to label the threads so they're still sortable back out.

This would probably include things like:
  • merge all of the classroom threads into one board.
  • merging the majority of the general boards
  • restructuring the projects section so the RPG-X boards fit into the forms a bit nice (maybe merging the mapping corner with the classroom boards etc)
Let me know if you're cool with this. :)

-TiM

#8 Harry Young

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 04:23 PM

I'm not into all the classroom boards but whatever of that concerns rpgx or just ef should be merged into an rpgx-area. Beyond that one board should suffice for classroom activities.

As for the ROX-x-area itsself I think that could be collapsed as well with the only subboards being Mod-News, Group-Ads, Project Placement and engineering as a follow up to mapping and skining corners then including lua-programming. Of course this also needs a link to the bugtracker. As for unused boards those should be put into an archive.

As for the lounge i think that can also be collapsed into one off-topic board. Beyond that i would not make any changes/suggest such.

#9 Martin Thompson

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 10:29 AM

I think merging the threads is a good idea, there are indeed a few spaces here and there with only a few threads in them.


As for the with, definately fluid, the forums display way better this way on larger monitors (which most ppl have anyway).
Pleople still on 800x640 will just have to suck it up imho :P

As for adds, i dont mind, i got like 5 addblockers so i wont see them anyway XD

#10 TiM

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 05:21 AM

Haha thanks guys. Cool okay. Sounds likes ads will more or less be tolerated (Booo adblockers :P). Now I just gotta try and come up with a design where they don't stick out like a sore thumb. :P

I'm not into all the classroom boards but whatever of that concerns rpgx or just ef should be merged into an rpgx-area. Beyond that one board should suffice for classroom activities.


Yeaaah. I do like the concept of the classrooms (especially since there's still a lot I want to do in there), but considering each board has less than 10 posts (and some even 2), it's definitely overkill to have them all as separate boards.

As for the ROX-x-area itsself I think that could be collapsed as well with the only subboards being Mod-News, Group-Ads, Project Placement and engineering as a follow up to mapping and skining corners then including lua-programming. Of course this also needs a link to the bugtracker. As for unused boards those should be put into an archive.


The... RPG-X area? Yeah this is going to be the tricky one. Agreed a lot of them can probably be put in the archived, and I think a lot of the more general ones (eg News, screenshots, suggestions) can proably be merged with the overall UberGames projects ones. I wonder if Mapping Corner could be merged into the classroom as well.

Keeping in mind, I'm going to implement a 'thread category' system like before, so even as the threads are merged into one board, you can still have the option of filtering them out on a per-category basis. :)

As for the ones like Group Ads and the likes... I wonder... I'm thinking maybe the lounge, but will probably have a think about that. Either way, one thing I really want to try is to get away from sub-boards as much as possible.

As for the lounge i think that can also be collapsed into one off-topic board. Beyond that i would not make any changes/suggest such.


Hmm, I definitely think a couple of the lesser used boards (eg the Japanese culture and other hopefuls XD) can be merged into the General Discussion one.

As for the with, definately fluid, the forums display way better this way on larger monitors (which most ppl have anyway).
Pleople still on 800x640 will just have to suck it up imho :P


Cool okay. The overall response has been a resounding 'fluid' response, so we'll stick with that.
I wonder if it is worth setting an upper limit though. Viewing the forums on something like a 30" monitor might make reading rather tricky....

As for adds, i dont mind, i got like 5 addblockers so i wont see them anyway XD


Bah! BAH! XD

#11 Harry Young

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 10:51 AM

The... RPG-X area? Yeah this is going to be the tricky one. Agreed a lot of them can probably be put in the archived, and I think a lot of the more general ones (eg News, screenshots, suggestions) can proably be merged with the overall UberGames projects ones. I wonder if Mapping Corner could be merged into the classroom as well.

Keeping in mind, I'm going to implement a 'thread category' system like before, so even as the threads are merged into one board, you can still have the option of filtering them out on a per-category basis. :)

As for the ones like Group Ads and the likes... I wonder... I'm thinking maybe the lounge, but will probably have a think about that. Either way, one thing I really want to try is to get away from sub-boards as much as possible.


I do not think that decentralizing RPG-X would be a good idea for even if you have categories it is still easier to find if you know where to look for it. This should - from my point ov view - be only a renovation rather than a rebuild.

#12 TiM

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 04:19 PM


I do not think that decentralizing RPG-X would be a good idea for even if you have categories it is still easier to find if you know where to look for it. This should - from my point ov view - be only a renovation rather than a rebuild.


Hmmmmmm... okay. This one's going to be a bit tricky. Obviously anything that is directly RPG-X related should stay in the one area... but when there are definitely redundant boards (eg the mapping corner and the level design in the classroom), I can't help but think it could be made a bit more streamlined.

Either way, it's nothing that we'd go ahead with without everyone's okay first. ^_^;

#13 TiM

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 05:16 AM

Okay... here we go. I'm wrapping up my current client work, and I'm not going to start anything new until the flippin website and forums are back up properly. XD

So. I went through all of the boards and the forum and did a bit of a stocktake of what's on the forum.

Here's what we've got:
  • News & Announcements
    • UberGames Announcments (21 topics, last post Nov 2011)
    • General News (26 topics, last post Nov 2011)
    • Site Support & Maintenance (23 topics, last post 2011)
    • Private Forums (*CLASSIFIED* XD)
  • Projects & Active Development
    • General Projects
    • News & Discussion (13 topics, last post Aug 2009)
    • Features and Suggestions (4 topics, last post Sept 2011)
    • Troubleshooting and Support (4 topics, last post Aug 2011)
  • RPG-X Mod
    • RPG-X Mod Related
    • News (79 topics, last post Nov 2011)
    • General Mod Chat (370 topics, last post Oct 2011)
    • Features and Fixes (71 topics, last post Jan 2011)
    • Screenshots (47 topics, last post Sept 2009)
    • Coding / Graphics / Sound /Mapping (63 topics, last post Feb 2006!!!)
    • Feedback/Suggestions (255 topics, Jun 2011)
    • Beta Testers Hangout (77 topics, last post Nov 2007)
    • X-Script (11 topics, last post Sept 2006)
  • RPG-X Community
    • RPG Advertisements (92 topics, last post Nov 2011)
    • Mapping Corner (233 topics, last post Nov 2011)
    • Skinning Corner (12 topics, last post Jun 2011)
    • Session Review (19 topics, last post Sept 2009)
    • Fan Fiction (31 topics, last post Sept 2009)
[*]The Classroom
  • 3D Graphics (8 topics, last post Aug 2011)
  • 2D Graphics (8 topics, last post Oct 2010)
  • Level Design (11 topics, last post Nov 2011)
  • Drawing (2 topics, last post 2008)
  • Programming (18 topics, last post Jul 2011)
[*]The Lounge
  • Casual Discussion (542 topics, last post Nov 2011)
  • STO Uberfleet (2 topics, last post Feb 2010)
  • Video Games (49 posts, last post Apr 2011)
  • Computer Hardware (18 posts, last post July 2011)
  • CG Artwork (13 posts, last post Oct 2011)
  • Television (26 topics, last post August 2011)
  • Japan Culture (7 topics, last post May 2010)
[/list]Whew... O_O

When I first started thinking about the structure for the UberGames forum, I kind of went with mantra of 'every single discrete topic requires its own board'... pretty much taking the KISS approach and stomping it to the curb.

That's kind of backfired now. There are a couple of boards that have only been touched upon once or twice, some which have loooooong since died, and worst of all, with the RPG-X board, we've got boards spanning 4 tiers of drop-downs; a bit of a navigational nightmare.

So first thing's first. A cleanup; a BIG cleanup is in order. A LOT of boards can be merged together (and have their distinctions maintained with prefixes), and I think a lot can be just locked down and archived.

Ideally, I want as least a number as boards as possible (while maintaining the same amount of discussable topics XD) and ideally, EVERY single board should be accessible from the front page (eg, none of this 4-tier drop-down crap).

I'm going to have a good long hard think about this and post a revised list up here soon. If you have any ideas yourself, let me know. :)

#14 Harry Young

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 09:16 AM

Well, I'd break it down like this:
  • Ubergames General Community
    • General News and Announcements
    • Development News (if not covered by another board)
    • Maintenance and Support
    • Private Boards
    • The Classroom
      • Possibly Breakdowns
    • The Lounge (all collapsed in this one)
    • General Achive
  • RPG-X2 Development and Community
    • News
    • Feedback and Suggestions
    • Group-Ads
    • 3rd-Party Content (Mapping and Skinning-Corner)
    • [Link to Bugtracker]
    • Related Achive
This could possibly be collapsed a bit further but then someone might have a hard time finding stuff just by their location (which is the approach I usually take)

By the way: I'd lend a helping hend in the restructurisation once things have been set up propperly.

#15 TiM

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 01:06 PM

Hmm, yeah? Hmmmm.... I dunno.

I don't know if dedicating sections of the top tier to specific projects is a good idea. Primarily because there's a bunch of existing projects we can add, and down the track, we'll be adding some other projects on the same scale, if not bigger than RPG-X (Hopefully/God willing XD). For conformity reasons, we'd have to make sections for them too, and the size of the boards will grow. :/

I'm still working it out, but at the moment, I was considering this design:

  • News & Announcements
    • UberGames Announcments (Leave as is.)
    • General News (Leave as is.)
    • Site Support & Maintenance (Leave as is.)
    • Private Forums (Well... this is an entirely different kettle of fish ^_^;;;; )
  • Projects & Other Crazy Machinations
    • General Projects
    • News & Discussion (Merge news topics with UberGames News, and just keep it as general discussion?)
    • Screenshots / WIP (Add this in)
    • Features and Suggestions (Leave as is.)
    • Troubleshooting and Support (Leave as is.)
    • Archives (For the old RPG-X boards that haven't been touched in years. Mainly for Google indexing and preservation purposes)
  • RPG-X Mod
    • RPG-X Mod Related
    • News (Merge with UberGames news)
    • General Mod Chat (Merge with Projects General Discussion and append prefix 'RPG-X')
    • Features and Fixes (Merge with 'Features and Suggestions' and append prefix 'RPG-X')
    • Screenshots (Merge with screenshots and append prefix 'RPG-X')
    • Coding / Graphics / Sound /Mapping (Um. Kill it or archive it or something. This is oooold O_O)
    • Feedback/Suggestions (Merge with 'Features and Suggestions' and append prefix 'RPG-X')
    • Beta Testers Hangout (Archive XP)
    • X-Script (Archive)
  • RPG-X Community (I'm wondering about this still. O_O )
[*]The Classroom (Assign all of the threads respective prefixes, merge ALL of the boards and stick it as a sub-forum in the lounge)
[*]The Lounge
  • Casual Discussion (Leave as is. It's pretty active)
  • STO Uberfleet (I merged it with video games.)
  • Video Games (Leave as is. I think video games in general warrant a separate board)
  • Computer Hardware (Leave as is. I've got a BUNCH of hardware stuff I want to post >XD)
  • CG Artwork (Merge with the Classroom)
  • Television (Leave as is)
  • Japan Culture (Merge with casual discussion)
[/list]Given pretty much every project we'll ever do will consist of news/screenshots/feature suggestions etc, I'm thinking it's better off if we have one set of boards for all of that, and use prefixes to allow users to filter the threads by the specific project, as opposed to separate, but similar boards down the page for each discrete project. And, if it's possible, I would also like to set it up so users could automatically access those boards with a pre-chosen prefix (eg, so given the choice, they could automatically load all of the RPG-X content only by default)

As for the RPG-X community...... I'll start up a thread in the private forums for that... >_>

What do you think?

#16 Harry Young

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 03:05 PM

Hm... I still Think there Should be a distinct area for RPG-X but if you can enforce a prefix set for any new topic (best via drop-down) I'd be okay in giving it a shot.

#17 TiM

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 03:19 AM

Hm... I still Think there Should be a distinct area for RPG-X but if you can enforce a prefix set for any new topic (best via drop-down) I'd be okay in giving it a shot.


Hmmm... I think there should be too, but again, I think doubling up on forums (I mean, right now we have UberGames News, Projects News and RPG-X News, which easily could be just merged with 'News' XD) just means more effort for people to click through. :/

Hmm, I was also looking at the model Valve has employed here for the Steam forums:

http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/

They've basically allocated one forum for every single game on Steam (O_O), but then set it up so all of the forums are in a multicolumn condensed list. I wonder if doing something like that on a per-project basis would work.

As long it's collapsible. The Steam forum takes minutes to scroll to the bottom. XD

#18 TiM

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 06:01 PM

I recently bought OmniGraffle for some content layouts for my work. I thought I'd use it here too.

So with the changes I stated above, this is what the new structure would look like.

As for RPG-X community.... hrmmm. I think the 'Mapping' and 'Skinning' boards could easily be merged with the classroom. Session review and fan fiction are both untouched since 2009, so they can probably get archived.

As for the RPG Group Advertisements...that one's still going, so I wonder. O_O
Maybe it's worth merging that with the STO board we had and having a base 'groups and recruitment' board in the lounge.

Thoughts? :)

In the meantime, I'm also starting to mockup an UberGames style theme for the forum.

Attached Thumbnails

  • ForumStructure.png


#19 Harry Young

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 06:13 PM

Mapping and skinning is also for presentation so I'd rather merge the two of them and possibly the Group-Ads and make a general Section 'Advertisement and Promotion' and put it all in that. That can possibly be put in the Lounge.

#20 TiM

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 01:48 AM

Hmmmm.... yeah? I checked out both and while the mapping corner has a few presentation ones, the skinning one doesn't really have any.

That's a good point though. Hmmm... for presentation, I was generally envisioning the 'CG Artwork' board for that.

Alright, so maybe we should rename the 'CG Artwork' board to 'Presentations' (so it can be used a bit more broadly), and then add another 'Advertisements and Promotion' board below it. :)




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