I didn’t write that much on the blog this year. It has had the lowest traffic in years, as a result. I only know this because I actually bothered to go look at the stats, for the first time in ages. I used to track this stuff every month, adding it into a big spreadsheet, so I could keep track of what people wanted to read about. Of course, I was also spending an hour a day or more writing stuff here, back then.
With the big blog revamp, it occurred to me to do an oldschool “this is what happened on the blog this year” post like I used to. So… here we go:
The most popular posts I wrote this year:
On getting criticism: A post I wrote about how to deal with inbound criticism of your work. This was the most read thing on the site all year, and has popped up in all sorts of incongruous places; I’ve found it reprinted in Reddits about fitness or about stand-up comedy, in countless game forums, and on websites for self-published writers, artists, and so on.Continue reading »
The gradual conversion of the old site into the new format continues. Old links out there still point to old pages, since I haven’t put any redirects in. But the new pages are appearing, and if you are mostly hitting the front page of the site, the menu choices will start pointing to the new pages rather than the old. Don’t worry, I won’t switch over the top pages until all the lower pages are in place!
You may have noticed that the site looks a little different today! It has seen a major overhaul — years of hacks in files have been overwritten by a modern customizable theme (Suffusion).
The goals were
Get it looking nicer, because, damn, it was dated. I usually overhaul it every few years, and it’s been overdue.
Get it faster and more responsive, thanks to streamlining all the cruft away. We’ll see. The database for the blog is, by the way, around 5GB of data. Yeesh. So it may be that getting it faster will require major DB surgery.
Cut away some of the stuff that was outright obsolete, like the links list (I’ll have to create a new one, sorry for anyone I wiped out!)
Give better and faster access to frequently desired material. This is being done with the nav bar up at the top. You’ll notice that this still takes you to the old site’s static pages (static pages that now date back to 1998 in some cases). Over time I expect to migrate all this into WordPress proper and redirect all the old links.
I also plan to add new stuff now. Like, some gallery pages for the games I have worked on. Seems silly to be a game designer with a game design site and not have a portfolio page… There’s also all the books that I have had chapters in, I ought to have those up here too. Maybe Slideshare widgets for all the presentations.
Among other things, the site is now fully responsive, so it shouldn’t take pinching and zooming to read it on a smartphone anymore. I swapped out the tag cloud widget, and the translator widget too. The old translator actually cached all the pages; this one just sends you off to Google Translate to do it yourself, so that should save a lot of space.
There are still many things that I have to sort out: whether to keep the frames on images, the weird bottom edge of the nav bar, what to do about comments (I like having the Twitter comments show up seamlessly, but I don’t think I like the reverse chronological order they show up in!), how to handle the older parts of the site, the bits of stuff left over like the blue highlighting of my comments that no longer matches the theme, the way drop caps are messing up when there’s an image in the top left, the bad headers on the right side…
Of course, feedback is welcome! Let me know what you think of stuff like the color scheme, the layout, and so on.
For those who don’t know, Imaginary Realities is the mud-related journal originally published by David Bennett. It disappeared way back in 2001, but Richard Tew has resurrected it. I’ve already glanced through the first new set of articles, and there’s some interesting stuff there for both MUD devs and non-mudders, I think.
In celebration, I thought I’d share some images of what it looks like now. I really couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. All glossy and hefty, it feels very substantial and classy. And I have trouble going back to look at the black and white now, having grown used to color everywhere. Read on for some before-and-afters on the imagery, some looks at the text additions, and how I tackled the issue of revising away some of the sexism in the cartoons!
The first thing, of course, is the layout. Yes, it’s in a portrait layout now, instead of the horizontal format. Not only will it fit better on shelves, but it also means that the book shouldn’t fall out of stock as much, because we selected this layout because we can use Print On Demand to constantly keep hard copies available. Before, copies had to be manually ordered.
Ironically, the actual size of the book is almost exactly the same. The new edition is actually just slightly larger.