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Topic: Front page discussion (Read 4972 times) previous topic - next topic

  • DaVince
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Front page discussion
Edit: the new front page is now here! This thread is repurposed for further development updates.

Okay, so N E O was so kind as to give me the source code of the current front page.

In the following days, I am planning to overhaul it. Specifically, I want to make it so that it actually becomes unconfusing, useful and appealing to anyone looking to make a game. I'm trying to make it so that the page is useful to old users and attractive to potential new users - something I think we all agree has been lacking so far.

So I had this in mind:

- The current links for us long-time users, made compact at the top of the page
- A brief introduction of what Sphere actually is
- A quick showcase of what kind of games you can make in Sphere
- Quick and easy "Getting Started" links which point to: Sphere Studio, minisphere, the API reference and the Tutorials section on the wiki.

Now, I've already started work on this, but I just wanted to ask the whole community what you guys think and if you have any comments or suggestions on anything else to add or not add.
  • Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 12:53:21 pm by DaVince

  • Fat Cerberus
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Re: New front page in development
Reply #1
This sounds great.  minisphere especially should really benefit from being on the front page as it'll make it more discoverable to search engines.

I don't have any suggestions at the moment, but I'll think on it and come back to this thread soon.
miniSphere 5.0b4 (stable: 4.8.8) - Cell compiler - SSj debugger - thread | on GitHub
For the sake of our continued health I very much hope that Fat Cerberus does not become skilled enough at whatever arcane art it would require to cause computers to spawn enourmous man eating pigs ~Rhuan

Re: New front page in development
Reply #2
The one thing I have been pleasantly impressed with in the current front page is the short list of new forum posts on the front page. I like to see that stay.

Re: New front page in development
Reply #3
My only thought is (eventually) look to integrating the overall website design and functionality with the forums. Though my understanding of that is limited, and by limited I mean I've been so far away from web design that I have no idea what I'm talking about anymore. But that's my suggestion, regardless :P

  • DaVince
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Re: New front page in development
Reply #4
FJ: I actually agree with that! Will be making some mockups to see where and how we could position the elements comfortably.

Zechs: well, I don't see too much of a need to integrate the forums into the main site. Mostly, I just want the front page to truly be a useful front page and a simple hub to the other pages, which all have rather scattered/differing designs and underlying technology. That can be tough to unify, and probably not necessary when the sites at least point to the right pages and resources.

That said, N E O (the admin) was working on a visual theme for the forums that resembles the front page, so this is probably all that's really needed in that regard. That and the "latest threads" listing. :)
  • Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 05:56:04 pm by DaVince

  • DaVince
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Re: New front page in development
Reply #5
Okay, seeking help and input!

1. I want to pick some of the best things to showcase. What games would you all suggest?

2. Could someone please make a few good representative screenshots of Sphere Studio, at ~800x600 resolution? Stuff that shows off the script editor and some maps/dialogs, perhaps. I'm on Linux and my Windows install is currently horribly broken, so...

3. I've tried to compile a list of the most important links that will feature at the top of the page, in a decently sized dedicated space. What do you think? Did I miss anything in this?

- Community
-- Forums
-- ?? Social media links here perhaps?

- Downloads
-- minisphere
-- Sphere Studio
-- Legacy downloads

- Games
-- Games (on downloads repo)
-- Release Forum

- Resources
-- Wiki
-- API reference (on wiki)
-- Resources (on downloads repo)
-- Resources subforum
  • Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 06:41:31 pm by DaVince

  • Fat Cerberus
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Re: New front page in development
Reply #6
I can do the Sphere Studio screenshots. :)
miniSphere 5.0b4 (stable: 4.8.8) - Cell compiler - SSj debugger - thread | on GitHub
For the sake of our continued health I very much hope that Fat Cerberus does not become skilled enough at whatever arcane art it would require to cause computers to spawn enourmous man eating pigs ~Rhuan

Re: New front page in development
Reply #7

1. I want to pick some of the best things to showcase. What games would you all suggest?


I'm thinking of the games that always made me think "That's awesome, I should play with Sphere right now!":

Blockman
The Rainis Manuscript
Gryphon Chapter (if any screenshots still exist?)
Kefka's Revenge
(That crazy thing SDHawk made with the flying ships made out of mushrooms)

I'm sure some of Tung's old experiments would be nice, too. Like his Sphere Paint program, if anyone still has it or can find screenshots.

  • Fat Cerberus
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Re: New front page in development
Reply #8

(That crazy thing SDHawk made with the flying ships made out of mushrooms)


That would be In the Steps of the Blackfoot, my first minisphere compatibility target. ;D
miniSphere 5.0b4 (stable: 4.8.8) - Cell compiler - SSj debugger - thread | on GitHub
For the sake of our continued health I very much hope that Fat Cerberus does not become skilled enough at whatever arcane art it would require to cause computers to spawn enourmous man eating pigs ~Rhuan

  • DaVince
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Re: New front page in development
Reply #9
Lord English - thanks for doing the screenshots! :)

Flying Jester - good suggestions! And while the Rainis Manuscript and Gryphon Chapter (didn't know about this one!) seem like good suggestions, I'd want to have games that we can actually link a download to.

Hmm, thinking more about it, I'm going to implement one of those little sliding showcase thingees. Thinking of showing the following right now:

- Blockman
- Kefka's Revenge
- Trial and Error
- Sir Boingers (sorry :P)
- Spectacles
- Cellar Rush (Radnen's Ludum Dare game from 2013) (note: I just found that minisphere doesn't want to run it, might want to debug it :) )
- Aquatis
- In the Steps of the Blackfoot

That already seems like plenty to me.

  • DaVince
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Re: New front page in development
Reply #10
I'm mocking up a layout before actually working on the code. Any thoughts on this general layout? (Note: this pic is mostly about the layout and content and not actual visual theming whatsoever!)

  • Fat Cerberus
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Re: New front page in development
Reply #11
I'm thinking the Facebook/Google+/Forum/Wiki links should be icons along the top, to the right of the "Spherical Game Dev Community" logo.
miniSphere 5.0b4 (stable: 4.8.8) - Cell compiler - SSj debugger - thread | on GitHub
For the sake of our continued health I very much hope that Fat Cerberus does not become skilled enough at whatever arcane art it would require to cause computers to spawn enourmous man eating pigs ~Rhuan

  • Fat Cerberus
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  • miniSphere Developer
Re: New front page in development
Reply #12

- Cellar Rush (Radnen's Ludum Dare game from 2013) (note: I just found that minisphere doesn't want to run it, might want to debug it :) )


I'll check into that, minisphere used to run that.
miniSphere 5.0b4 (stable: 4.8.8) - Cell compiler - SSj debugger - thread | on GitHub
For the sake of our continued health I very much hope that Fat Cerberus does not become skilled enough at whatever arcane art it would require to cause computers to spawn enourmous man eating pigs ~Rhuan

Re: New front page in development
Reply #13

Flying Jester - good suggestions! And while the Rainis Manuscript and Gryphon Chapter (didn't know about this one!) seem like good suggestions, I'd want to have games that we can actually link a download to.


I made Gryphon Chapter, and never released any downloads. It looked impressive (and had the last and by far most advanced version of the Majestic Map Engine), but the code was lost over the years.

I remember posting a bunch of screenshots to RMN (at least 3, apparently). This is, I think, the only remaining image:

http://rpgmaker.net/media/content/users/23741/locker/GC3.png

I would personally think it's fine to have a shot or two of at least the Rainis Manuscript, since it's kind of historically important to Sphere.
  • Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 08:07:14 pm by Flying Jester

  • DaVince
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Re: New front page in development
Reply #14
Oh, I remember that game! I didn't know, or at least forgot, about its name. Looks like an excellent screenshot candidate if anything because it shows how diverse Sphere can be!

Speaking of the Majestic Map Engine, My memory's kinda fuzzy on it. Was there any production ready version out at any point?

Lord English: that's actually where they were before in the design too. Might be good to keep them there, I suppose! Heck, there's plenty of space to actually reiterate the few very most important links there too. But all of that is variable, I'll just start working on implementing this design first and worry about the details later.