This topic contains 16 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Laptops Daddy 7 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #7322

    Laptops Daddy
    Participant

    Scorched3D Website Redesign

    It’s time to go public with this.

    Several months ago, I offered to redesign the S3D website by way of a donation. I had to keep the whole thing relatively quiet – we couldnt afford to have a hundred criticisms at every design stage, we’d never have finished.

    I’d like anyone who’s willing to participate or give feedback in this final stage of development, to go here:

    http://ukinterchange.org/
    only the home and forum links are active as is.

    To summarise the main work involved here:

    The bulk of the work was and is in creating a phpBB template structure for the site forum. This isn’t a trivial task. We needed something special that would stand out.

    Most of the rest of the work is and was in creating a flash based banner and video player for the site. I didn’t want to resort to the usual basic players you often see on open source sites, so I coded one myself.

    Overall, my intention was to present an industrial and modern look, to maintain an arcade appeal, and to incorporate some classic Scorched Earth, Worms and early DOS era gaming heritage – combining state of the art Flash and website coding techniques with the robust cross platform compatibility expected in an open source community.

    I hope I’ve achieved that.

    Regarding the technical stuff:

    The video player makes use of Google’s Youtube chromeless – an actionscript 3 API. This system will allow playback of any video hosted on Youtube, without contributing to the S3D site’s data transfer costs. The system will also allow custom Flash content to supplement the videos. (Which I’ve yet to plan or code).

    The site banner is a Flash/HTML hybrid, split down the middle to preserve HTML links. I intend to double up on the Flash part of the banner with a still image equivalent. Wherever people dont have an Adobe Flash plugin installed, all theyll see is a static image based banner, with no prompt to install.

    The banner is currently set to link directly to server/game activity – linked to the apoc server I host, for now, but the messages displayed could be anything, including forum announcements or random slogans.

    The screenshots in the banner are embedded video content, and I’ve hooked up the whole thing to an xml interface for easy changes later.

    There are still quite a few changes in the works. The banner will have an overlay. A few examples of concepts experimented with so far will follow. We’re not quite at the stage you should report bugs – it’ll be obvious where I still have work to do on the forum templates. When the time comes, we’ll need people to test every part of the forum design.

    For now, I’d value any and all feedback and suggestions.

    Thank you very much.

    These are some early concepts for banner logo overlays:
    [attachment=0:26kxch20]basnnerconcepts.jpg[/attachment:26kxch20]

    #61417

    BOY
    Participant

    Love it!

    Are there some tank action vids ready for the flash?

    #61418

    Irishbandit
    Participant

    That is nice!! =D> =D>
    One thing I would like to see and I don’t know how hard it would be to add or if it should be. Could it be centered in the middle of the screen? I am running at 1680×1050 and there is a lot of gray on the right. Similar to these sites http://www.getdeb.net/welcome/ https://help.ubuntu.com/ random examples.

    #61419

    Deathstryker
    Participant

    @irishbandit wrote:

    That is nice!! =D> =D>
    One thing I would like to see and I don’t know how hard it would be to add or if it should be. Could it be centered in the middle of the screen? I am running at 1680×1050 and there is a lot of gray on the right. Similar to these sites http://www.getdeb.net/welcome/ https://help.ubuntu.com/ random examples.

    Did you happen to see my posts when I asked something along the same lines in the original thread?

    #61420

    Laptops Daddy
    Participant

    @deathstryker wrote:

    Did you happen to see my posts when I asked something along the same lines in the original thread?

    I did. Yes, it’s no problem to align the whole thing to centre.

    Let me list a few things that arent so easy to change, because if there’s anything here that a lot of people feel strongly about, I need to know soon*:

    • The ‘raised panels’ (the 3D metal effect) have rounded corners and a drop shadow that has to be blended into the background colour. We can’t change that background colour without changing every image on the website. (This applies to any site with shaped images as part of the design, but it’s especially true here, and alpha channels arent an option).
      `
    • A similar restriction applies to every icon used on the forum, including emoticons. It was requested that we stick to a forum content background colour that’s close to black.

      I have a confession here. Id prefer a grey tone that matches the site background. Id really like people’s opinion on this. This is a rough example:
      [attachment=0:2bau9ydo]greypanel.jpg[/attachment:2bau9ydo]
      I’ve already put some work into using the almost black shade we have now, but if enough people agree that the lighter grey in that example looks better, it’s not too late.
      `

    • Finally, we decided very early on that we needed to stick to a fixed width. Deathstryker for one, has made the point that it might be nice to have a fully scalable width that fills the screen (sometimes called a liquid width). We’ve discussed that privately and I think we’re agreed that it isn’t an option at this stage. I won’t go into the reasons for that here.

      There is an exception. Where people add oversized images to forum posts, the width is forced to fit. I have allowed for stretchable borders for forum posts. You can find an example here:
      edit: the link is: http://ukinterchange.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6&p=18#p18

    *For people who are interested in the technical aspects, I want to give an idea of the process.

    Once this site is complete, I will package the whole thing in a way that will allow Gavin to switch over to the new design seamlessly.

    I’m very big on standards compliance – I don’t like hacks, but some of the techniques I’m using are quite convoluted. That is, Ive compromised on the KISS factor to some extent in favour of some clever tricks that will hopefully provide for the absolutely unique website I think this game deserves.

    We have a cool opportunity here, where the site owner has graphics and programming skills that match mine and then some. I can use a few techniques that I usually wouldnt dare to if I wasn’t going to have direct access to the server. (For example, linking up the banner to the game and forum databases). I don’t want to leave Gavin with extra work to do when it comes to maintaining the site, so it is a good idea to get everything ironed out and approved by the community before the switch.

    This is a good place to add this, speaking of community approval

    Gavin, you seem to be putting in a huge amount of work lately. It must seem like a thankless task sometimes with all the forum scuffles and complaints about the trivial stuff. v43 is the best release I’ve seen by far – that real-time mode is the kind of thing that could make this game huge. It’s a privilege to be involved.

    #61421

    imported_gcamp
    Participant

    Thanks Laptops. Its looking great 🙂

    Personaly I like the darker background as I think it gives more contrast to the text and makes it easier to read. Also it helps to “lift” items put on it so they stand out from the background more. But it is a personal taste thing so go with what ever works.

    I think it will look great with a logo up top, will really finish it off.

    I tried the image div tag to try and get around the image resizing the forum issue. However it doesnt seem to be working at the moment, the images are smaller but the actualy forum post is the orginal size. I’m sure it used to. Perhaps just centering the page on the screen is a good compromise.

    #61422

    Laptops Daddy
    Participant

    @gcamp wrote:

    I tried the image div tag to try and get around the image resizing the forum issue. However it doesnt seem to be working at the moment, the images are smaller but the actual forum post is the orginal size. I’m sure it used to. Perhaps just centering the page on the screen is a good compromise.

    You should find a section in the phpBB ACP under General, Attachment settings that looks like this:
    [attachment=2:1tztvhez]imagecat0.png[/attachment:1tztvhez]
    Maybe you have the Create Thumbnail option switched on?

    There was always an option to resize uploaded images. I thought it might mean some custom php code or a mod of some kind – I didnt realise it was quite that easy and assumed full sized images would be better.

    If youd like to keep the option of not rescaling image attachments, Ive allowed for it with a less detailed texture for the forum post borders, like this (which is stretchable):
    [attachment=1:1tztvhez]less.jpg[/attachment:1tztvhez]
    rather than a detailed, possibly prettier but unstretchable border like this:
    [attachment=0:1tztvhez]more.jpg[/attachment:1tztvhez]
    as used elsewhere on the site.

    If youre sure you’ll always want rescaled images, I can switch to a fully textured border. There’s no rush to decide on that.

    #61423

    Irishbandit
    Participant

    @deathstryker wrote:

    Did you happen to see my posts when I asked something along the same lines in the original thread?

    I believe I read that request some where. I don’t remember things the greatest.

    @laptop wrote:

    Yes, it’s no problem to align the whole thing to centre.

    Good that being said does any one have a problem with it being aligned center?

    #61424

    Laptops Daddy
    Participant

    @irishbandit wrote:

    …does any one have a problem with it being aligned center?

    that’s the kind of thing gavin can switch in a heart beat once it’s all set up – it’s a couple of lines of CSS. i’ll go ahead and align to centre next time im editing.

    #61425

    Irishbandit
    Participant

    I think you deserve a special medal next to your name Laptops.

    #61426

    Willis
    Participant

    Nice work so far man, gonna give a top-down analysis.

    Banner:
    If the flash banner style stays then that’s definitely cool to have a life feed coming from one of the servers. (though right now it’s just a prerecording right?) I would allow for 3-4 lines of text rather then one, feels a little more news-feed like.

    Would it also relay conversations or only system actions? (the prior could raise issues). Maybe instead of phasing between three different landscape recordings have onload randomly select one and stay upon that one with a loop of its animation (if possible to seamless).

    Forums:
    This is a minor technicality, but keep some of the lines that separate sub-forums, threads, and posts from one another. Everything flowing together feels off.

    Color Scheme:
    On a glance it really doesn’t feel appealing to have everything gray (it almost tuned me completely away at first).. but scorched has always been simple in style. One of the things I still cherish. That being said, trying to imagine the website with a diversity of bright colors doesn’t work. Nor does taking the background to basic black, it throws out all of the 3D shaping.

    Long story short – Gray works.

    Structural layout:
    I just cannot put my finger on it, but the thin line underneath the links bar bugs me. I tried to edit it out but that only made the appearance worse.

    The imprinted wording “3d artillary”.. “online gameplay” .. “a state of the art blablabla”.. hard to recognize at a glance. Maybe blacken them completely or something.

    Overall it looks like you spent quite some time so far and it’s coming along strongly.

    #61427

    Laptops Daddy
    Participant

    thanks for the feedback. intending to respond asap. im a bit snowed under.

    #61428

    skywalker
    Participant

    i like more old one

    #61429

    Laptops Daddy
    Participant

    excellent feedback. thanks willis.

    i’ll explain a bit about the flash banner. i probably mentioned earlier – i’ll only use flash on a website where there’s a flash plugin detected. for people who dont have it (eg iphone/pad users, or anyone who just chooses not to) , all theyll see is a still image version.

    most people do use flash.

    so, the video backgrounds are prerecorded videos – theyre not taken from the active game. (that would be clever!)

    Would it also relay conversations or only system actions? (the prior could raise issues).

    yeah, i dont think we want in game chat in the banner. anything that’s currently reported on the stats pages or in the forums can be reported in the banner, and i like the idea of several lines. thatd be a project in itself, but it’s possible.

    we’re already using every trick in the book (and a few that arent). i need to draw a line under the clever stuff for now and just get it finished. anyone with cool ideas for features should post them, though. it cant hurt.

    one side note if i havent mentioned it already: ive hooked up that banner to a full xml interface for the graphics stuff as well as the message feeds. the videos, metal border, the drop shadow and the logo when we have it are all separate files that are easily changed without reprogramming/compiling the flash itself.

    forums
    i think i get you. maybe add a subtle line between each forum?

    navs
    i know gavin’s been working on a bug reporting system. i think the current plan is to split the site into two sections – one set of pages for development and bug tracking (perhaps to exclude the flash banner), one for everything else.

    colour scheme
    i think the grey works. i find it quite easy on the eye. bright colours or accents are an option. as a base (i was going for a kind of gunmetal), we hopefully cant go far wrong. it’s quite neutral.

    i’ll be back on top of this within a week or so and there’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel. if anyone else has any feedback or suggestions, now is a good time.

    thanks again

    @willis wrote:

    Nice work so far man, gonna give a top-down analysis.

    Banner:
    If the flash banner style stays then that’s definitely cool to have a life feed coming from one of the servers. (though right now it’s just a prerecording right?) I would allow for 3-4 lines of text rather then one, feels a little more news-feed like.

    Would it also relay conversations or only system actions? (the prior could raise issues). Maybe instead of phasing between three different landscape recordings have onload randomly select one and stay upon that one with a loop of its animation (if possible to seamless).

    Forums:
    This is a minor technicality, but keep some of the lines that separate sub-forums, threads, and posts from one another. Everything flowing together feels off.

    Color Scheme:
    On a glance it really doesn’t feel appealing to have everything gray (it almost tuned me completely away at first).. but scorched has always been simple in style. One of the things I still cherish. That being said, trying to imagine the website with a diversity of bright colors doesn’t work. Nor does taking the background to basic black, it throws out all of the 3D shaping.

    Long story short – Gray works.

    Structural layout:
    I just cannot put my finger on it, but the thin line underneath the links bar bugs me. I tried to edit it out but that only made the appearance worse.

    The imprinted wording “3d artillary”.. “online gameplay” .. “a state of the art blablabla”.. hard to recognize at a glance. Maybe blacken them completely or something.

    Overall it looks like you spent quite some time so far and it’s coming along strongly.

    #61430

    DiaryOfDreams
    Participant

    Please include the german download link and description on your website.

    http://www.chip.de/downloads/Scorched-3D_13014032.html

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