Feedback on StrategyCore


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#21 Pete

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 10:01 AM

Hellb0ound - some simple buttons across the top might well be the way to go... I'll have a play around on the installation on my local PC here.

Stun Grenade - the answer to that is because phpBB is frequently hacked and doesn't have the same features. I did a lot of shopping around before settling on Invision :) I've been using Invision since it was version 1.0 and free. It sucks that it's now a commercial script, but with the right license (no jokes Slaughter :blush:) you only have to pay for it once and you get acces to all future upgrades.

Now I know there are many phpBB installations that don't get hacked, but it's the larger ones that get the attention and the developers never used to get the patches out particularly quickly.
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#22 Pete

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 11:47 AM

I've had some thoughts on this actually and I might have come up with a great idea. I'll set up another installation of the forums and show you all the idea. It can then go to a vote if neccessary :blush:
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#23 Slaughter

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 07:02 PM

Sounds good :blush:


#24 Stun Grenade

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 08:33 AM

So what's happening?
"The Stun Grenade can be used to stun targets within a small area for a brief time. Larger Aliens may need weakening before they can be stunned."

#25 Pete

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 09:23 AM

Well I've set up the test board, but was awaiting some feedback from Slaughter. As he's not about, I'll post the link.

Be warned: the following link is STILL not how I envisage having the forums laid out, as I didn't want to spend hours on some graphics just for illustration purposes.

With that in mind, PLEASE read the descriptions of how I'd like certain parts to look and follow the instructions below after clicking on the link, or it'll just look rubbish and not make much sense :blush:

The test boards are at http://www.strategyc...co.uk/forumtest

This is a fully working copy of these boards made a few days ago.

The intention was to trim down on the amount of confusing stuff on the forum main page whilst still providing people who are only interested in certain gaming series' with links to the most popular non-gaming-series-related forums (namely the off topic section).

Now, on the forum main page at the link above, you'll see the game logos are above the forum links for X-COM, UFO and Silent Storm. You'll have to imagine a nice image for each stretching across the screen with pics from each series to easily identify each set of forums and minimise any confusion. This will add a little colour and better separate the series' for newcomers.

When you click on one of the three forum titles "The X-COM Series" "The UFO Series" etc, you'll be taken straight through to those forums relating to that series.

At the bottom of the forum listing once you're viewing the forums in a series, you'll see a redirect-forum which will take you through to the boards main Off Topic forum (which can be seen on the forum main page in the StrategyCore section).

If you follow that redirect, you are unavoidably taken out of your series section (X-COM, UFO etc) and are viewing the Off Topic forum in the StrategyCore section. The easiest way to get back will be provided at the top of the Off Topic forum in the form of buttons which will take you back to the game series of your choice. It'll take a little getting used to, but it makes more sense than having an Off Topic forum under each series for those people who wouldn't normally stray out of a particular series of forums. Also, please bear in mind these are just some rough mock-up graphics of buttons and not how I'd envisage the final buttons to look (as they don't stand out that well or look that good for one :)).

Now, I'm hoping that all made sense :)

There are some other aims to this layout as well. It was always the intention, once we'd merged the sites and got the content back up again (still working on it, don't worry :)), to add more games in the future.

The sample layout mentioned here allows for many more game forums to be added without making the forums messy as a result and cut down on the scrolling needed to find what you're after. I'm well aware that a few more clicks are needed to get where you're going, but hopefully the benefits are obvious to all.

A final note to anyone who may be concerned about hudreds of forums cropping up and thousand of posts and members slowing down the forums - this software will run with very little difference in speed with hundreds of thousands of members and millions of posts. A good example would be the Neowin forums which have 106,407 members and 4,681,989 posts and runs as fast as these :)

As always, I'm open to suggestions for improvement. Doesn't always mean I'll be able to say yes, but I'm hoping the layout I've run through above will make more sense.
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#26 FullAuto

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 03:25 PM

Certainly shortened it a little, eh?  I think the forums are fine as they are, but if we moved to this new layout, it's not going to bother me.

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#27 Accounting Troll

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 04:23 PM

Interesting.  When it is finished, anybody who preferred the layout before the merger merely needs to update his bookmark to the page listing the forums for a particular series, and it will almost look as if the sites were never merged.

#28 Pete

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 05:49 PM

Aye. And if I were to get REALLY bored, I could even put a different colour sceme/set of images for each group of forums.

It might help to change the logo at the top of the page to the series logo at the very least :blush:
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#29 Stun Grenade

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 09:39 AM

Pete, looking good and I would love to help make it look cool or what have you.

Its pretty funny/wierd only having one forum inside a heading!!
"The Stun Grenade can be used to stun targets within a small area for a brief time. Larger Aliens may need weakening before they can be stunned."

#30 Pete

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 10:03 AM

Hehe, well the little logos will change and I'll make it look less silly, but if you're approving of this proposed layout, then I must be getting it right? Is it less confusing now?

Any more comments/suggestions from anyone?

Be warned though guys, whilst I'm against advertising in general, I AM toying with the idea of putting a few little plugs for other site features at the top of the forum index (will be theoretically invisible when you're viewing a section's forums). This would be in an effort to:

a) Remind people that there's a whole site out there (most people come here from googling and land right on the forums)
b) Plug the newsletter that only 53 people seem to have signed up for, as they're the only ones who've had a mooch around the rest of the site recently
c) Plug any other projects we're covering on the site and not in the forums
d) Plug the file database
e) Plug the shop area a bit on the run up to Aftermath's release

I'm thinking about two blocks liek on the main http://www.strategycore.co.uk at the top above the news that will display randomly from the above 5 themes when the forum index page has loaded.

Any thoughts on this would also be appreciated :blush:
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#31 Kernel

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 01:31 PM

I prefer the site as it is now rather than on several different sites.
It certinatly makes the forum easier, no more having to visit both the ufoaftermath.com forum AND the x-com.co.uk forum to post stuff/read new things so I don't miss so much.

The forum is similar to another site I visit (www.subsim.com) with several games on one forum.
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#32 Stun Grenade

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 01:55 PM

Pete, if you say, buy back the www.x-com.co.uk domain then I'm sure you will attract some more people. Just get Google Ad's to have some revenue. But seriously, how about trying my idea...?

On the home page it will have fourms at the top as a link, then a drop down bar will pop up saying which game. etc... The SC forum bit will appear on all game forums and so forth. The x-com.co.uk website could even redirect to the X-COM forum section on SC. Meh.. I hope that made sense!
"The Stun Grenade can be used to stun targets within a small area for a brief time. Larger Aliens may need weakening before they can be stunned."

#33 Pete

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 02:18 PM

I've still got the domains, and they do point through to the new site at the moment. I see your point on the top link being a drop-down though - not a bad idea at all.

I don't want to have to have different installs of the board though if I can possibly avoid it, even if cost wasn't an issue. It's just a nightmare to operate with three different admin panels and having to switch sites all the time.

This is why I suggested the new layout at the link above, which can have different sections skinned (and have different sections on the site skinned to match) so that we've almost got three separate sites on the one site.

I can quite easily change it (assuming that's not how it's already set up) so that x-com.co.uk points to strategycore's X-COM pages, ufoaftermath.co.uk to point to the Aftermath pages etc if that'll help.

It was always my plan to eventually get round to skinning different colour schemes/top-of-page graphics for each game series as well to more clearly separate them, but I've just not gotten around to it yet.

So... sorry to keep throwing the same question back at you guys, but does the new forum layout at the link above begin to improve things? It's the quickest and easiest fix I could think of, but I need your input on it's effectiveness at cutting down on the confusion that seems to have put so many people off.

I am jotting down all these other ideas though for future reference, honest.  I'm just strapped for time in which to make large adjustments to the site at the moment :blush: Also, since nobody's dissed my idea of advertising other sections of this site on the forums here, I'll probably start putting that in motion too after we send the next newsletter out.

(Anyone who wants to sign up for newsletters BTW can fill out the small and well-hidden form on the right-hand column at http://www.strategycore.co.uk).
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#34 Stefan100

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 04:01 PM

6: Anything else you'd like to comment on? Feel free to do so, as any feedback is valuable. And criticism is welcomed.

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1: Do you like the new StrategyCore concept, or did you prefer the separate sites we used to have? Why?
Can't really answer on this one, as i didn't even know about X-com and strategycore until some months ago. This is by the way the second forum i have ever been an member to!

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2: Do you think the new forums are too big, or is it okay? Why?
I think they are too big right now, but the suggestions on new forums made by Pete seems good.

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3: If you post less than before, or not at all, what is the reason?
Two reasons.  
1: I havent't found any interesting topics to discuss yet, but I am about to search for them now. Honestly, i haven't been searching at all except looking at the "news board" for something interesting (which is news about Ufo:AS). But even when i found interesting topics i didnt post very much.

2: I didn't post very much because i didn't think this site was any interesting at all. But i have changed attitude now. This site is actually very interesting. And i am about to post more from now.

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4: What could we do to improve StrategyCore? How?
1: Change the forums as Pete have suggested.

2: Change the infobars to the left at the start site, so it gets easier to find more information about the games and the gameseries. For example: Add something for those who havent heard anything about X-com. Like an "What is X-com?" link in the X-com infobar.

3: Make old newsletters avaliable. Maybe under the "sign up for newsletters" link (or what it is called) under an "Previous newsletters" menu.

4: Maybe finish that "staff" link (or remove it) above. Have you forgot it or are you still working on it?

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5: Are you redirected to this site when you use x-com.co.uk and ufoaftermath.co.uk? If no, what browser do you use (including version number)
Have never used those links so i don't know.

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6: Anything else you'd like to comment on? Feel free to do so, as any feedback is valuable. And criticism is welcomed.
Thanks to the admins who spend both time and money to get this site working!  :blush: (Correct me if i am wrong, but as far as i understand so did Pete pay a lot of money to be able to make this site.)

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read: I'd have to buy a separate license for each separate installation

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#35 Pete

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 05:16 PM

Cheers for the feedback Stefan.

Yes, we really could do with some intro's on the games. It's jsut assumption as a webmaster that people will know everything about what your site's about the minute they arrive. Covering many games, that's not the case :)

Previous newsletters - I'd planned to do this but haven't quite got around to it yet. Will try and sort that tonight time-permitting.

Ah, theStaff link - partially collected info to go on it, and then forgot about it :) Will try and uipload what info we've put together tonight :)

As for the costs - yeah, Olav (Slaughter) and I are covering the costs. They're not cheap, but when searching for hosting you've got to go for quality. My last three hosts have been fairly useless, so I've finally found one that's reliable now and gives excellent support despite being a little more expensive. Hopefully when I've got the Shop section skinned and a little more integrated, we can generate some revenue from that finally.


Come on everyone, more suggestions - every post in this topic means that when folks click the "View new posts" link when they log in, this'll stick out and they may eventually check it out :blush:
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#36 Pete

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 10:52 AM

I've been a busy bunny (for a change - no seriously, I've been incredibly inactive and lazy around here the past few months :blush:).

Check out some site updates outline here: http://www.strategyc...?showtopic=4119

We'll hopefully get around to adding an introduction to the X-COM games and the UFO series in the next week or two, as well as (hopefully) another new gaming section within a month or so. More news on that to follow :)
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#37 Stun Grenade

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 02:10 PM

Its good to hear from your alot Pete...

I would love to host the forums. May I? I'm upgrading my net in 2-3weeks so it would work?

When you said 'I can quite easily change it (assuming that's not how it's already set up) so that x-com.co.uk points to strategycore's X-COM pages, ufoaftermath.co.uk to point to the Aftermath pages etc if that'll help.'
I think that could work fine :blush:
"The Stun Grenade can be used to stun targets within a small area for a brief time. Larger Aliens may need weakening before they can be stunned."

#38 Pete

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 02:29 PM

It's quite alright, though thanks for the offer :) We've got plenty of space and bandwidth for the forums and they get daily backups on the server we're on currently.

I'll have a go at sorting the domains right away though!

EDIT: Domains sorted. I kept forgetting to empty my browser's cache, so I couldn't understand why they still all pointed to the wrong places! :blush:

http://www.x-com.co.uk now points to http://www.strategycore.co.uk/xcom,
http://www.ufoaftermath.co.uk now points to http://www.strategycore.co.uk/ufo and
http://www.s2hq.com now points to http://www.strategycore.co.uk/ss

I also learned some new stuff which I won;t be forgetting in a hurry, so my hour wasn't totally wasted banging my head against a brick wall :)
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#39 Kernel

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 04:06 PM

Pete, on Aug 19 2005, 02:18 PM, said:

I see your point on the top link being a drop-down though - not a bad idea at all.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Oh GOD NO! Not a popup drop down menu!!! Those things are horrible!
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#40 NKF

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 10:16 PM

About my only complaint so far is that I find myself scrolling horizontally a lot.

edit: And now having perused the forums, I must say that the black background is a lot harder on the eyes than the previous lighter background was. Could a lighter background theme set be made for those of us with bad eyes? Or perhaps tone the text brightness down slightly. It's mainly the bright whites that give me trouble. They almost appear to glow against the almost-black grey background. If you look at the forum header and footer, the whites there aren't as striking as the whites in the actual forum area.

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