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Major blog overhaul

 Posted by (Visited 3915 times)  Open thread  Tagged with:
Dec 182013

biglogoYou 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.

Mar 152012

This is post #2,342 on this blog (not counting the dozens of articles, snippets, and presentations not in the blog database)… yet more of the over a quarter-million words written here since the site started in 1997 and the blog in 1998. And I have to admit, I tend to take for granted the idea that people have read all the stuff that matters, so they understand me when I throw around terms or assume that they know what my past writing on the topic is. Which is ludicrous, of course.

So I got asked on Twitter for a list of my juiciest game design posts, to serve as a central jumping-off point.

This was hard. But here’s a list of ones that I think are my best. Many of these are actually talks, rather than posts. These are usually in sort of rough reverse chronological order, but there’s plenty of places where they are just in the order I found them in, or random cut & paste order.

Feel free to list your own favorites in the comments. And if you haven’t seen some of these before, well, this is the best way to catch up on my overall beliefs and philosophies on games.

Theory of fun (cognition and games) and game grammar overview. This covers the very highest level structure of the thinking on these two interrelated subjects.

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Blog downtime

 Posted by (Visited 5567 times)  Open thread  Tagged with:
Oct 292008

Apologies for the downtime — looks like I left some stuff incomplete when I did the WordPress upgrade. I think it is fixed now.

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Happy birthday, blog: 10 years

 Posted by (Visited 9047 times)  Misc, Open thread
Aug 292008

The banner today

The first posts on the ancestor of this site went up ten years ago today. The site was dark blue. It used this newfangled HTML tag called frames, and I added each post by handcoding the HTML and uploading the file to the server.

I feel old. 🙂

Some of the oldest things on this site date back before the site itself, to when I was a young punk designer of 25 or 26, cocky and arrogantly sure I knew everything. I turn 37 in a week. I like to think I’m still a young turk tilting at the windmills.

Ten years ago, I started the site to archive some of the things I was telling the UO community and the LegendMUD community, things about the ways in which online communities can self-determine, things about how virtual worlds can serve as bridges, as ways to connect. To talk about how something people see as “mere games” can mean much more. I eagerly read everything I could by people like Randy Farmer & Chip Morningstar, Richard Bartle, and other pioneers. I collected aphorisms from mailing lists and gathered them into a reference source. I tried to share it back, to do my learning in public.

The previous banner, aka "the pixelly look"

In some ways, the site has become a book — most literally, in the way that A Theory of Fun was born from blog posts and snippets from MUD-Dev, but also in the over half a million words I have written here.

"Wood site #2" -- there was a wood site #1 before that one. This is where the knotwork thing came from.

I thought a good way to celebrate might be to turn things around on you. I am pretty sure that there are plenty of folks who haven’t been here that long — given that the site has gained several thousand daily readers in just the last year. So I thought I would ask some questions and use the anniversary as a chance to point people to some of the older material they might not have read.

So I want to turn it around on you! I have questions for you!

I don't seem to have that old art anymore... and there was one design older than ths, all dark blue.

I don't seem to have the old art for wood site #1anymore... and there was one design older than this, all dark blue.

I have my favorites and am thinking of showcasing some of them over the next week, but I am curious, because I suspect that to some degree I am better known to many of you for what I have said than what I have done. So many of the things I have done aren’t really there to see anymore, but the things I have written and said are still here, for better or worse. 🙂

So thanks for coming  on the journey! Here’s to another ten years, another half a million words, and more learning in public.