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Looking for Ideas for our New Look!


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#1 Schot

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:39 PM

Well with all the buzz about Sacred 3 now, I'm feeling it's time to update our look in a way that better associates together our 3 sites.  DarkMatters, SacredWiki and Sacred3.  SacredWiki as we know it will remain the same in appearance but I will be adding a new section to it for Sacred 3 in a way that will allow it to have a different theme than Sacred 1 and 2.
 
I have a few basic ideas but just a few:

  • Create a style based on Sacred Underworld (light browns, golds) Similar to SacredWiki but more decorative.  Maybe saphire styled buttons...
  • Create a button/icon set that could be shared by all three sites.
  • Each site will have a different layout and slightly different styling so as not to look TOO similar.
  • Create a narrow vertical menu of useful links with decorative icons to go along the side of all three sites.  Links that are important to the community.
  • Create a banner image that all three sites will use.  I would like to create a graphic that is based on the Seraphim wings in the Sacred 3 announcement trailer.  The wings would be used differently on each site.

Attached File  Sacred_3_-_Official_Announcement_Trailer_NA.jpg   45.59K   5 downloads

 

That's a very basic start.  Are there things we need built in globally that we don't already have?  Let me know!  Seen something out there on the net that you think we could use or is just plain cool?  Let me know!  :D
 
This is going to be very challenging for me so any feedback will help.  The toughest part of designing for me is inspiration.  The look I'm after is "arcade", "glossy", "wrought", GUI.
 
The primary elements that I need to design are:

  • The header(top part of DarkMatters where the main links go)
  • The body.  box styling.  You can see that there is a designed border around our present skin
  • buttons like the Reply button when posting

I kinda like the buttons used in this free template.  Maybe I could do something like that for the buttons that appear along the bottom of each persons post.
http://www.freewebsi...ebsitetemplate/
 
Ideas, ideas, ideas please!  :D



#2 Silver_fox

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 04:21 AM

That's one good plan full of good ideas. The only thing I have to advise is caution you against making a design too graphics-heavy as it might make it sluggish for people with limited bandwidth and those who access the web via mobile networks (either using mobile devices for browsing or 3G modems). Though I guess you know it very well without any reminders. Perhaps wiki design should be somewhat simpler that DarkMatters and Sacred 3, because no matter which Sacred it is about, a well-written wiki article always contains a lot of context illustrations, in-text icons and other imagery related to the topic of the article. Having such articles surrounded by heavy interface can be distracting, and I guess if we have to choose between using images for articles or for interface, articles are preferable. 


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#3 Dragon Brother

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 04:13 PM

Sounds good to me. I really like the idea of using the wings! Will that narrow vertical menu be something that scrolls down the side of the page with you? In all that black space that you get with a screen res greater than what the forum is designed for I mean.

 

And is there any chance of doing something about mobile browsing on the site? Currently on the Ghost Ship theme my phone which doesn't do text rewrapping to fit the text in posts better on the screen means I have to move swipe side to side to read a full post. However, the basic IP.Board skin appears to do this itself so I was wondering if it would be possible to display the IP.Board skin if as phone is set to request the mobile version of the site and then whichever skin I have selected as my default if I set the phone to request the desktop site?



#4 Flix

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 01:52 AM

I'm glad this is happening.  I don't know the history of the site (would be cool to know), but this is not a dark place.  The subject matter (both Sacred and casual topics) is not dark, the community is not dark... just the color scheme is.  Skin of gloom.  I have no problem with dark color schemes, just the current look is like a gothic poetry site.

 

I have no suggestions on what kind of changes to make.  I'll try to think of something.


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#5 SX255

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 05:12 AM

This is sort of a nitpick, but have you guys had problems reading walls of text? As in, white letters on black background cause white lines to appear when you close your eyes? I have, and it can’t be good for the eyes.


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#6 SX255

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 07:48 AM

Also, can we get "size width" when adding Image URL? The default width is sometimes too big.


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#7 Flix

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 02:47 PM

A couple things I would love:

 

1) Signature displays at bottom of post, not directly below post text.  This could help make all the empty space (caused by the heighth of our avatars/titles) at the bottom not seem so odd and empty.

 

 

 

 

Edit:

 

2) Thumbnails for external images.  I always upload to imgur, and the forum resizes big images, but they still end up displaying as large as possible, so a multi-image thread takes a long time to load (it also ends up taking up a lot of space).  Is there some way to allow for thumbnail display instead?

 

At this point we begin a new topic about posting and customizing External Image thumbnails to be posted here on the forums.

 

External Image Thumbnail Sizes


Edited by Schot, 02 March 2014 - 09:25 PM.

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#8 Schot

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 06:53 PM

That's one good plan full of good ideas. The only thing I have to advise is caution you against making a design too graphics-heavy as it might make it sluggish for people with limited bandwidth and those who access the web via mobile networks (either using mobile devices for browsing or 3G modems). Though I guess you know it very well without any reminders. Perhaps wiki design should be somewhat simpler that DarkMatters and Sacred 3, because no matter which Sacred it is about, a well-written wiki article always contains a lot of context illustrations, in-text icons and other imagery related to the topic of the article. Having such articles surrounded by heavy interface can be distracting, and I guess if we have to choose between using images for articles or for interface, articles are preferable.

Great point!  Our last two purchased skins have been quite graphics heavy.  I'd like our new one to load quickly so I'll certainly be careful about that. 
I completely agree about keeping Sacredwiki more simple than the DarkMatters and Sacred 3.  That makes a lot of sense to me.  For the wiki I'd like to add just a bit of graphics.  Like border framing and buttons.  But I wonder if it might be worthwhile to create an "editors" skin.   A very basic skin for editors that would allow them to work more quickly than the default skin...  On the whole I agree that reserving our resources for article graphics content vs skin graphics is a priority.  I'll do my best to keep it extra light on the wiki.
 

Sounds good to me. I really like the idea of using the wings! Will that narrow vertical menu be something that scrolls down the side of the page with you? In all that black space that you get with a screen res greater than what the forum is designed for I mean.
 
And is there any chance of doing something about mobile browsing on the site? Currently on the Ghost Ship theme my phone which doesn't do text rewrapping to fit the text in posts better on the screen means I have to move swipe side to side to read a full post. However, the basic IP.Board skin appears to do this itself so I was wondering if it would be possible to display the IP.Board skin if as phone is set to request the mobile version of the site and then whichever skin I have selected as my default if I set the phone to request the desktop site?

Cheers DB!  Yup!  That menu will scroll with you.  I could get pretty creative with the vertical menu.  The general idea I'm following is like the tiny menu of user links we have on Fallen Angel at the top right of the page.  I set that menu up to follow the reader whenever they scroll up and down the page for easy access.  So My initial thought was to make a vertical menu that follows but now I'm starting to imagine a top horizontal menu based on the Windows Taskbar with auto-hide...  Any way I do it though I think making it an auto slide in/out type would be functional.
 
As for mobile.  I'll be setting up a separate skin for each site, specifically designed for mobile that will auto detect and implement itself.  The detection and loading process will be like DarkMatters does it.  It's a function that's built into most site softwares.   By default, the first time a mobile arrives at darkmatters the forum "should" feed that mobile the IP.Board-ish low-fi skin.  I hope that's still working!  haha.  That's the goal for our new look. 
 

I'm glad this is happening.  I don't know the history of the site (would be cool to know), but this is not a dark place.  The subject matter (both Sacred and casual topics) is not dark, the community is not dark... just the color scheme is.  Skin of gloom.  I have no problem with dark color schemes, just the current look is like a gothic poetry site.
 
I have no suggestions on what kind of changes to make.  I'll try to think of something.

I couldn't agree more.  The primary reason that our look has been dark the past two skins is because I couldn't design something and that whatever was available to buy has been far and few between.  There just aren't many options out there for a gaming site in terms of well designed skins.  This is about as good as it gets, haha.  Both me and gogo prefer a light skin and we feel a light skin is a better reflection of the highly productive and kind community here.  To give you an idea of our history though...  This is what I designed.  In 2007.  :o  We had to drop the skin because our IPB forum software changed so drastically that the skin as it was designed was completely incompatible. 
Attached File  wscreen.jpg   95.51K   7 downloads
 

A couple things I would love:
 
1) Signature displays at bottom of post, not directly below post text.  This could help make all the empty space (caused by the height of our avatars/titles) at the bottom not seem so odd and empty.
 
2) Thumbnails for external images.  I always upload to imgur, and the forum resizes big images, but they still end up displaying as large as possible, so a multi-image thread takes a long time to load (it also ends up taking up a lot of space).  Is there some way to allow for thumbnail display instead?

 #1 has been problematic for yeeeeaaaars.  It's a tricky one to resolve.  I've tried over the years but when you adjust one thing something else falls out of place, lol.  I feel the exact same way though.  Has bothered me in the past.  I had forgotten all about it actually....  THANX Flix for reminding me.  rofl


#2 Continued in External Image Thumbnail Sizes

 

This is sort of a nitpick, but have you guys had problems reading walls of text? As in, white letters on black background cause white lines to appear when you close your eyes? I have, and it cant be good for the eyes.

 YES!  I'm right there with you.  Been bothering me for a few weeks now actually.  This is largely a contrast issue though which means it's not too difficult to resolve.  It was really bad in the editor while typing a post because the text in the editor was nearly white on black which is terrible for the eyes.  I started working on that issue in this skin a couple days ago along with the missing quote box styling while using the editor.  Many of you probably haven't seen this yet.  Primarily because we need to clear our browser caches. 
 

Also, can we get "size width" when adding Image URL? The default width is sometimes too big.

Sure thing!  Not sure what I can do in the future but I'll try.  :)



#9 Flix

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 07:16 PM

Amazing to see that old design.  It's hard for me to imagine anything other than what I've been looking at for 3 years now.


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#10 Silver_fox

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 04:06 AM

It was interesting to see this old skin. Forum software changed since then and this skin looks somewhat outdated now, but the design is so different from what DM exploited all the time I've been there it comes as a surprise.

 

All the functionality I see currenly lacking or misbehaving is certainly not your fault and most probably not a skin feature at all, so I don't know how much you can do about it. Still, it would be nice to have working wiki tags, in-interface ability to insert title/caption for external links without having to type BBcode by hand and more comfortable quoting (right now it's a bit annoying when you edit quoted text to take only a part of it and then see quote caption suddenly popping in random places of the reply post and other things along these lines).


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#11 Schot

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 09:46 PM

Cheers you two!  Oh boy Flix.  We need to get gogo to ressurect some topics of our old skins.  We had soooome fun.  Remembering the "Happy Place" we had to live in for a while when we were transitioning from free to paid forum software.  It was...  Perhaps a little too happy, lol.

 

Sadly it's true.  That skin is dated now. But it's spirit lives on!  As for the functionality you mention Silver, can you tell me what you mean about the wiki tags?  Is it the apostrophe thing?  If so then it has already been fixed within the upcoming IPB update.  So as soon as they release the update it will be fixed.  And then we will have new bugs to worry about, lol...  External Link titles.  Are you using the rich text editor?  In rich text mode you just type the title, highlight it and then click the link button.  To change a link title you highlight the link and then type over it.  It's weird.  Quote boxes make me crazy too.  That's an IPB dev issue that I hope they worked on.  I'll check it out.  I sometimes switch to the basic editor when customizing quotes.  But we shouldn't have to do that and didn't have to in the past.

 

So here's our shopping list so far.  No sparkling graphics yet!

  • Light skin
  • Light weight skin (low file size graphics)
  • mobile skins
  • wiki skin should be more simple than other 2 sites
  • possible "editor's" skin on wiki for even faster load speeds
  • handy follow menu "autohide taskbar"
  • optimize text to background contrast "easy on the eyes"
  • Create or find a bbcode to better control image thumbnailing on the forum.  Like wiki...
  • Code forum sigs to sit at bottom of post


#12 Silver_fox

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 01:27 PM

If so then it has already been fixed within the upcoming IPB update.  So as soon as they release the update it will be fixed.

Good to know that at least some issues will be fixed in IPB updates and you don't have to come up with your own solutions and workarounds.

In rich text mode you just type the title, highlight it and then click the link button.  To change a link title you highlight the link and then type over it.  It's weird.

Now, it is weird. Would have never thought to try typing over link text as most editors treat it as text replacement. Or maybe it's just my personal problem - when I don't see an interface option that does what I need, I tend to think about typing code by hand before trying less intuitive approaches to the interface. Probably that tendency to solve all problems by manual coding is just a side effect of my occupation as a programmer. I'm glad to find out that the interface is working fine, so don't mind me asking about it.

 

The TO DO list has already grown big enough, and I see nothing that is missing and can be added to it. Though maybe when you start working on it you'll see more things that can be done to improve it. 


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#13 Timotheus

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 06:18 PM

Cheers you two!  Oh boy Flix.  We need to get gogo to ressurect some topics of our old skins.  We had soooome fun.  Remembering the "Happy Place" we had to live in for a while when we were transitioning from free to paid forum software.  It was...  Perhaps a little too happy, lol.

Grooveeeeyyyy. These were on the house.

220px-RayBanAviator.jpg


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#14 Silver_fox

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 04:09 AM

When I looked at my various posts again, it dawned on me to ask if we can choose which information we have on our profiles is displayed on forums beneath the avatar and which is not. Right now, whenever we change specific fields in profile settings, they are immediately displayed in posts, even if we reset them to defaults or otherwise make them not informative. For example I got stuck with quite silly (and a bit corny) gender label because after one of skin changes my profile suddenly started telling that I'm a girl, though I never made such a setting (probably because new skin had different default than the old one or something like that). I reset the profile so that people wouldn't get wrong ideas - and ended up with a new setting following me everywhere. Likewise people sometimes have second thoughts about telling real name or location and have to come up with some joke to replace these fields with because it's hard to prevent them from displaying at all. Also, gaming platform is now an exclusive field, while nothing prevents people from owning games for several different platforms at the same time. When S3 would be released it would become even more complicated, as some people would have, let's say S1 and Sacred 2 for PC and S3 for console. Maybe we can allow multiple selection for this field, or at least allow to clear it entirely. 


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#15 Timotheus

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 02:32 PM

My input: http://z12.invisionf...dex.php?act=idx


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#16 Gilberticus

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 02:50 PM

I like it. C'mon, feel the funk!



#17 Flix

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 02:53 PM

My input: http://z12.invisionf...dex.php?act=idx

 

my_eyes_are_burning__by_creepyfreak99-d6


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#18 Schot

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 12:25 AM

Awe look.  Flix's eyes have the happiness now.  Yup.  That was more or less everyone elses reaction as well.  lol  *hangs sign over Flix's gaping mouth expression, slides him on dolly platform and rolls him into the happy tank for de-happinessing*  Alrighty!

 

 

My input: http://z12.invisionf...dex.php?act=idx

 

Cheers Timo, haha!  It's STILL up.  Wow... 

 

I like it. C'mon, feel the funk!

 

Care for a jelly bean?  ^^

 

 

If so then it has already been fixed within the upcoming IPB update.  So as soon as they release the update it will be fixed.

Good to know that at least some issues will be fixed in IPB updates and you don't have to come up with your own solutions and workarounds.

>In rich text mode you just type the title, highlight it and then click the link button.  To change a link title you highlight the link and then type over it.  It's weird.

Now, it is weird. Would have never thought to try typing over link text as most editors treat it as text replacement. Or maybe it's just my personal problem - when I don't see an interface option that does what I need, I tend to think about typing code by hand before trying less intuitive approaches to the interface. Probably that tendency to solve all problems by manual coding is just a side effect of my occupation as a programmer. I'm glad to find out that the interface is working fine, so don't mind me asking about it.

 

The TO DO list has already grown big enough, and I see nothing that is missing and can be added to it. Though maybe when you start working on it you'll see more things that can be done to improve it. 

 

 

It is.  It really is wierd.  It was purely by chance that I found that.  I need to write a guide on how to use the editor...

 

When I looked at my various posts again, it dawned on me to ask if we can choose which information we have on our profiles is displayed on forums beneath the avatar and which is not. Right now, whenever we change specific fields in profile settings, they are immediately displayed in posts, even if we reset them to defaults or otherwise make them not informative. For example I got stuck with quite silly (and a bit corny) gender label because after one of skin changes my profile suddenly started telling that I'm a girl, though I never made such a setting (probably because new skin had different default than the old one or something like that). I reset the profile so that people wouldn't get wrong ideas - and ended up with a new setting following me everywhere. Likewise people sometimes have second thoughts about telling real name or location and have to come up with some joke to replace these fields with because it's hard to prevent them from displaying at all. Also, gaming platform is now an exclusive field, while nothing prevents people from owning games for several different platforms at the same time. When S3 would be released it would become even more complicated, as some people would have, let's say S1 and Sacred 2 for PC and S3 for console. Maybe we can allow multiple selection for this field, or at least allow to clear it entirely. 

 

Ah, interesting.  Yup.  I'll look into that.



#19 Arperum

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 04:09 PM

If you need help with something from the layout, I'm a professional web developer, so I know my way in CSS and the like.

(yes, I'm back, kinda).

 

1) Signature displays at bottom of post, not directly below post text.  This could help make all the empty space (caused by the heighth of our avatars/titles) at the bottom not seem so odd and empty.

What is the max-height of the signatures? I think I can do something about getting these things at the bottom of the post.


Edited by Arperum, 17 March 2014 - 04:14 PM.

Posted Image
Avatar and Sig made by Dromin


#20 gogoblender

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 08:49 AM

Arperum, good seeing you back!

Am I mistaken or did I see you briefly in Diablo 3 servers other day?

 

:bounce:

 

gogo






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