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Author Topic: AGS Website Redesign  (Read 7990 times)

AGA

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The majority of the wording used so far is copied directly from the current site. That site was written by one man 15 years ago, so could definitely do with being revised. All text, just like the images and site structure, should please be considered placeholders for now. For now we're just suggesting a basic look and feel.

tampie85

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Thanks for all the compliments on the design so far, really means a lot!
« Last Edit: 03 Jun 2021, 10:03 by tampie85 »

Hobbes

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Wow!!!

The new design looks so good. I'm trying to gather some thoughts that haven't already been shared before, but perhaps to reiterate / process for myself:

  • I would be more than happy to help write text / rewrite things. Since I'm slowly plodding my way through the Wiki, it'd be easy to help shift things over at the same time.
  • The six main menu items as I mentioned them earlier in this thread would still be my main recommendation. Though I also like the mockup setup quite a bit.... ugh, I don't know anymore. :)
  • I love the colour scheme... I thought we already had orange in the current colour scheme and love how much it pops in the new one.

I'm keeping an overview of what I'm doing in the Wiki in this thread. And whilst it'll take quite a while I think to refresh most everything in there, it'll help with SEO and draw more people in.

I agree 100% with tampie85, good enough to ship = perfect at this stage. We can always update/change/tweak/add more graphics/etc later on. To go live with a fresh design as soon as we can, that would be great.

On the topic of Modules/Plugins, I was wondering... if we're building a Games Database, should we also build a Modules/Plugins/Template database where people can upload, categorise etc? It would be almost 100% the same kind of setup. It could hold that "Last Updated On..." bit as well as a "Last Tested On AGS Version..." bit. Could be a good way to start to "modernise" these awesome additions to AGS and present them in a more popular fashion. I think a voting system would help here immensely. Not so much from a popularity contest place, but to rate those that work really well and add a lot.

Again, I'm not a native speaker but have written plenty of formal/official/not-so-official English documents in my life. So if you'd like me to help out, let me know! Covid-19 is making sure I'm facing 7 weeks of summer holiday with nowhere to go, so, well, yeah, I'll have a significant chunk of time coming up! (Which I'll also use to actually design games, of course, but writing text is always fun!)

Oh, and updating SMF to the latest version would be most appreciated. I don't know what it is, but it manages to overheat my iPhone and iPad. And regularly crashes Safari. Which is very weird!

New site design looks great on iPhone, iPad & Mac by the way - all in Safari. But can test in any browser on MacOS / iOS / iPadOS where required.

AGA

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SMF is already on the latest version, as of last night. It loads almost instantly for me, so no idea why you'd have issues!

On the cross device question, I have access to BrowserStack, which allows me to test the site in all sorts of device and browser combinations, including some very old ones.

Hobbes

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Weird! It could be an Apple thing perhaps? My devices just heat up A LOT on the AGS Forums (doesn't happen anywhere else on the internet) and regularly "crash to desktop". Odd!

Snarky

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I seem to recall that similar problems in the past have had to do with somebody's avatar or sig being hosted somewhere problematic.

Yeah, really great work on the new design mockups, tampie! Particularly impressive with such a quick turnaround.

Funny how people are now reacting to some of the text that's always been there—goes to show how little we actually visit and read the website!

I'll see what I can do with user journeys and so on. I might send out a survey and try to schedule some interviews/user tests on Zoom. (However, I'm going on vacation next week, with limited Internet service, so it might have to wait until I'm back.)

Way upthread, Darth Mandarb mentioned that he owns the adventuregame.studio domain, so I also want to remind you all that I own adventuregamestudio.org and adventuregamestudio.net, in case we want to use either of those. (I'm perfectly happy to transfer them to AGA or anybody else if desired.)

Hobo

Great work tampie85 and AGA, lots of very solid stuff in such a short time already.

I'm personally not a big fan of modern web-design trends with short slogans, big images and a huge empty space that looks like it's just waiting to be filled with ads. I feel like it just leads to endless scrolling, lot's of wasted space and makes it difficult to reach and find relevant information. But I do understand that this is probably how people prefer and like to consume their sites these days, especially on mobile devices. The current mock-up actually does seem in some ways that it's more geared towards the mobile user, so it would be interesting to know what the actual traffic stats are.

For the desktop version, I'd probably prefer it to be a bit more compact and maybe only have like one or two screen scrolls max for all the important information.

For example, the main page's Download AGS and Find Games sections could be side by side in desktop view. And instead of those big images, there could maybe be some smaller or more integrated visual aids that either guide the eye or separate the sections on mobile.

On the Games Page, I'm not sure the Awards and Ratings section needs a whole big area to itself. I'd probably move the ratings under the download button, possibly simplify them like others have suggested and perhaps get rid of the AGS panel ratings, since this feature has been dormant for years.

The the AGS Engine Features section on the other hand looks like an information overload to me and kind of hard to grasp at once. Maybe a more tighter bullet point list with little bit less information would be more suitable here? Or some other visual solution?

I'd also put some more emphasis on stylistic consistency, I feel that currently there are a fair amount of areas that implement very different size and design choices, but I guess this might simply be because the project is still in a placeholder stage.

I would like to add though that I know absolutely nothing about web design and I am an old antiquated dinosaur, whose web browsing preferences and habits do not reflect the average person that will be visiting the AGS website  :-D

On the Games Page, I'm not sure the Awards and Ratings section needs a whole big area to itself. I'd probably move the ratings under the download button, possibly simplify them like others have suggested and perhaps get rid of the AGS panel ratings, since this feature has been dormant for years.

I understand this is due to Progzmax's illness and sad passing away. Perhaps it is time for the mods to elect a new head of the Review Panel? The system of the panel and the user's rating next to each other is quite informative, and I wouldn't want to get rid of it just because it's not in place for the last years' games.

Quote
I would like to add though that I know absolutely nothing about web design and I am an old antiquated dinosaur, whose web browsing preferences and habits do not reflect the average person that will be visiting the AGS website  :-D
+1

I love the mock-ups. That’s definitely the kind of upgrade the site has been crying out for for a while now.

I agree with some of Snarky’s points about reducing scrolling, especially for mobile. I wonder how it would look if some sections were collapsible. Player comments on game pages, for example, could be hidden.

AGA

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I understand this is due to Progzmax's illness and sad passing away. Perhaps it is time for the mods to elect a new head of the Review Panel? The system of the panel and the user's rating next to each other is quite informative, and I wouldn't want to get rid of it just because it's not in place for the last years' games.

Just to clarify, there's never been a head of the rating panel; there are a handful of people who do the reviews as and when they have the time and inclination.  But as with everything online, real life gets in the way, and people's availability and enthusiasm isn't always high enough to do ensure every game gets rated.

Great job with the mockups! Below my feedbacks:

1) How to browse games? I don't see any games browsing section. As someone that has discovered first the AGS games, and later AGS, I really think that this part is very important. Right now it's not easy to browse the games database, so I think this is the perfect chance to redo this part. Users should be able to order the games by Popular, Top sellers, Top Rated, Most Recent, Most commented, or search by tags
2) On the games detail page, I think one screenshot is not enough. The pages should be more visual. A big screenshot/video and a screenshots slideshow would be nice (ie. humblebundle: https://www.humblebundle.com/store/borderlands-3-ultimate-edition)
3) Typography: there is a mix of open sans fonts (Nunito+Open Sans), personally I would avoid two fonts that are so similar. For what is worth, my suggestion is to use a font, at least for the titles, more similar to the traditional logo of Adventure Game Studio website. Raleway is perfect:  https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Raleway?preview.text=Adventure%20Game%20Studio&preview.text_type=custom#standard-styles. You can use Raleway Black for the titles and Raleway Light for the text


AGA

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1) How to browse games? I don't see any games browsing section. As someone that has discovered first the AGS games, and later AGS, I really think that this part is very important. Right now it's not easy to browse the games database, so I think this is the perfect chance to redo this part. Users should be able to order the games by Popular, Top sellers, Top Rated, Most Recent, Most commented, or search by tags
Please bear in mind this isn't meant to be a completely functional site yet.  We just started off with a few pages as an overview of what the style of the new site could be.  A lot of the existing pages and functionality isn't shown yet, games lists included.

2) On the games detail page, I think one screenshot is not enough. The pages should be more visual. A big screenshot/video and a screenshots slideshow would be nice (ie. humblebundle: https://www.humblebundle.com/store/borderlands-3-ultimate-edition)
In the shown example there are three screenshots.  There are navigation arrows on the screenshot (swipable on mobile), and picker buttons at the bottom of the image to select individual screenshots.  They also rotate automatically every few seconds.  If you don't see any of that functionality, perhaps you have scripts disabled on that page?

Just to clarify, there's never been a head of the rating panel; there are a handful of people who do the reviews as and when they have the time and inclination.  But as with everything online, real life gets in the way, and people's availability and enthusiasm isn't always high enough to do ensure every game gets rated.
Well, the Rating Panel Information Thread states there is:
Quote
Who are in the Panel?
I work as coordinator and supervisor of the rating panel project. Progzmax is the current head of the panel.
The rest of the individual Rating Panel members are currently anonymous. This is to prevent coercion and abuse from game authors.

If that's incorrect, then perhaps the text ought to be changed anyway.

AGA

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I think that may have been overstating things a little.  Regardless, the relevant part is "« Last Edit: Sat 28/04/2012 01:04:25", there definitely isn't anyone in charge anymore!


In the shown example there are three screenshots.  There are navigation arrows on the screenshot (swipable on mobile), and picker buttons at the bottom of the image to select individual screenshots.  They also rotate automatically every few seconds.  If you don't see any of that functionality, perhaps you have scripts disabled on that page?

You are right, sorry I didn't notice there was a slideshow. It's very nice like this. I would add some thumbnails below the main screenshot so you can click on them to show the bigger version. Also, in the desktop version I would prefer to see the majority of the space dedicated to the images, not to the list of details (like 2/3 on the images, 1/3 on the details, now I think it's the opposite).

LimpingFish

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Loving the discussion so far, and thanks to tampie85 for the excellent mock-ups!

Well, the Rating Panel Information Thread states there is:

As AGA says, I last updated that thread almost a decade ago, so anything in it more or less hopelessly out of date.

As far as I remember, as the last(?) of the original panelists still regularly active in the community, Andail was the original public face of the panel, it's de-facto "head" if you like, followed by ProgZmax as the most senior member. After Andail became less active in the day-to-day community, ProgZmax became the public face (along with myself, to a lesser extent).

What you have to remember about the panel was that it was always intended to be anonymous, with members rotating out on a regular basis, as we wanted to gather as wide a pool of different opinions as possible. After a while it became apparent that it was going to prove hard to keep the original half-dozen or so members consistently active, and almost impossible to find a steady stream of replacements. The bulk of those initial ratings fell to ProgZmax and myself, and we would share our findings with the rest of the panel for objections or alternate opinions, with the other members offering their own batch of ratings whenever they could.

In more recent times, a couple of users have attempted to kick-start a new round of rating activity, but, understandably, it's not so straightforward to find the time to play and rate games in a meaningful way. It's also not a job to take if you're looking for continuous feedback and discussion. People just don't have the time to dedicate, and those that do become disillusioned when they end up being the only voice still talking.

As it stands now, the panel is more or less dormant (there have been...five ratings in the three years, with the last dated 8/20), but I'd be lying if I said the idea of rejuvenating it doesn't cross my mind on a semi-regular basis. There's a few things I'd probably do differently, and it would be nice to really help make the database as informative as possible.
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cat

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Indeed it's been great to get so much input from people so quickly, and huge credit goes to tampie85 for managing to get so much done while juggling care of our ten month old son!

Wow, congrats for the baby! Amazing you did such a mock-up while taking care of a baby!


Quick feedback only (typing on my phone and I hate that): try to include a bit of the last 3 posts, recently added games, last AGS version released at... to show how active the community is. This is a major aspect of AGS and might influence if people decide to use the engine.

A great endeavor. I like the new design  ;-D

Homepage:
Maybe show more games to emphasize the popularity of the engine. Perhaps the description/read more button could only appear when the mouse moves over a picture of a game.

Quote
The things people are saying in the forums is gone, is this intentional?
I meant that little blank comic bubble that has Roger (I think?) face where it appears the 5 most recent forum posts. I think having things changing in the homepage improves SEO.

Quote
try to include a bit of the last 3 posts, recently added games, last AGS version released at... to show how active the community is. This is a major aspect of AGS and might influence if people decide to use the engine.

Yes. Since some common complaints about AGS seem to be that it's showing it's age or that development is slow, the new website should appear dynamic.

Game page:
As it's been said, it's nice but there's a lot of scrolling.
I'd suggest moving the comments up alongside "About".

Quote
How to browse games? I don't see any games browsing section. As someone that has discovered first the AGS games, and later AGS, I really think that this part is very important. Right now it's not easy to browse the games database, so I think this is the perfect chance to redo this part. Users should be able to order the games by Popular, Top sellers, Top Rated, Most Recent, Most commented, or search by tags
+1. It could suggest other games to play based on similar tags / popularity /good votes.

Community page:
Some icons /flags/ pictures to make it more lively?
« Last Edit: 03 Jun 2021, 22:50 by Creamy »
 

Matti

Re: AGS Website Redesign
« Reply #58 on: 04 Jun 2021, 01:18 »
Just a quick note: The big link at the top of the forums goes to the newest post in this thread, which is not intentional I guess.

Skeevy Wonder

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Re: AGS Website Redesign
« Reply #59 on: 05 Jun 2021, 11:50 »
This is wonderful news and I really like what you've come up with thus far! Following is my input which hopefully reads OK. For the most part it's organised into coherent sections, but it is 3am here and my brain feels a bit melty after a long day. Oh. And now I've just noticed there is a third page of responses. Welp, here goes nothing:


DESIGN/ORGANISATION
Thank you for retaining the colours and overall look in the mockup. I second Reiter's request to use the pale blue for the background, and eriOo's photo idea (more about that later*). Design overhaul whiplash is disconcerting ('Did the site get hacked? Did I mistype? Am I hallucinating?'). It's heartening to learn that you're coding it yourself; Wordpress has brought out my murderous side on too many occasions to count.

Relieved to hear the only alteration to the forums will be responsive scaling--that'll be most welcome.

Agreed, eriOo, please do implement a donation button on the main page. And the splash of orange with the blue--mwah! Definitely liking this complimentary colour scheme.

Regarding browsers and mobile: all's well with the mock-up in Safari on an iPhone 12+ Max!

Regarding sthomannch's comments about any scrolling confusion and featuring MAGS: maybe the hamburger menu can have links to anchors (?) on the sections of the main page for those who aren't keen on scrolling, as well as a link directly to the Competitions and Activities area of the forums.


GAMES PAGE
I would prefer cups (stars) to thumbs. There are way too many games I've been on the fence about, because I really loved, for example, the UI, graphics, and characters, but found the music irritating, and was disappointed that the game had no voice acting. I'm guessing this is why you qualified the thumbs suggestion with 'if your userbase is big enough'. With the masses and masses of Steam users you get the aggregated 'Overwhelmingly positive' 'Mostly positive' 'Somewhat negative' etc. That and a glance at a few reviews you start to see patterns--lots of people loving the same thing/encountering the same bug.

Trimming out the review requirement and specifics seems like a good idea. I play a lot of games late at night and its not uncommon for me to be too tired to leave a review at that point but I want to give *some* sort of feedback to the dev(s). For my part, I feel some feedback is better than none. Invaluable, really.


MISCELLANY
This is more to do with the manual, but seeing as it is part of the site: far more examples of AGS script in action need to be employed. I have completed projects in C#, Javascript, Python, and have dabbled in a handful of other languages, but unless snippets are provided along with instruction, I've often found programming/scripting really difficult. Something to do with  learning styles, I guess. In Snarky's list of personas (which was great, BTW) I would be slotted somewhere fairly near Bruno, although my first language is English, I successfully worked as a freelance artist/graphic designer, and the game I'm poking away at isn't going to be commercial.

The registration: At least some bar to entry, please, keep out the riff-raff, haha. When I registered in 2016 I was surprised there was a test but thought it was funny. There were a few minutes of ranting from my partner when he registered, however. Maybe an 'introduce yourself/why AGS' requirement, and as has already been suggested, a brief probationary period with limited posting capabilities.

Laura Hunt, Potajito, 'Think you've got what it takes?' is one of the things that rubbed my partner up the wrong way and I never liked it either (no offence to whomever put it there).

Oh yes--I'm very much in favour of the 'want-to-play', 'games played', 'favourites' lists idea. It's 'follow' on itch, I think, something else at gamejolt, and 'wishlist' on GOG and Steam, but only the latter two have favourites, right? Anyway, yes, all three would be fabulous.


Thank you a million times over for keeping this site going strong. I know you'll do a brilliant job updating it whilst retaining that ineffable AGS quality.
 

* My partner is an excellent photographer and we have a nice looking setup here, so if you're interested in eriOo's photo idea DM me here or on Discord. Laura Hunt has offered proofreading, and one of my other jobs involved writing copy for websites and other promotional material, so if there's enough to require extra assistance I'd be happy to chip in. You probably have loads of artists to hand already but let me know if you need any more. Again, thanks, all!