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  The loneliness of an unloved front page...  (Read 3121 times)
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Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Posted 2003-08-11 06:09:09 »

Note: this has come out of a discussion on "Why isn't the Wiki being used much?". In the process, I realised that the front page is currently an almost criminal waste of space...and that fixing it could be enough to improve Wiki's usage considerably, but also to make some other major benefits...

IMHO the frontpage of JGO is currently a complete waste of space.

The very most important text (forums, wiki, etc) on the whole page is the smallest, and extremely hard to find amidst the colourful (but useless) graphics and text. Even "Java Games Affiliates" gets more emphasis than these! (Are these people paying for this or something?). Basic UI design: On a complex page, with bigger text in the center, most people look at the center first. Many don't even look anywhere else (people are accustomed to IGNORING small print, and anything at the edges that is small == smallprint in their minds).

As to the news...well, I'm deeply unimpressed by a news page that is about ten light years behind the forums. Why bother looking at a front page that gets an update every few weeks, when the forums' news sections get several a day? (Why bother HAVING news on the front page unless it can be updated at a similar rate ... and places like flipcode etc demonstrate that it certainly *can* be done?). Oh, sorry, I forgot - we also get 5 headlines from 3DGamers. Great!

Now, if that page instead had three sections in the main column: "forums", "projects", "wiki", and each of these sections contained a few showcased items EACH DAY (or at the very least a couple cherry-picked each week), then I bet you'd see a heck of a lot more going on at the wiki - and probably in the projects area too.

FWVLIW, the only reason I became active in the forums was when I turned up at JGO one day and found the site had disappeared, to be replaced by the forums alone. Now, that's what I call "promotion". Kind of inevitable with that level of exposure that I'd register for the forums sooner or later...

Whilst it's always amusing to see Chris's grinning face staring back at me from JGO  Grin, there are surely better uses for this space? If no-one at the GTG has time to scan the forums, the projects, AND the Wiki for interesting tidbits to highlight, just give a few of us some kind of priviledges to post to the front page - and then vet whatever we come up with (AFAICS java.net/collabnet supports this kind of thing very well?).

You have at least 20 people who's profligate usage of the forums to date demonstrates their suitability to make such judgements (what would be interesting, for instance) - and with a small group of them (rather than just one), any personal bias (e.g. towards certain topics) would even out over time.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline kevglass

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 208
Projects: 24
Exp: 18 years


Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #1 - Posted 2003-08-11 06:36:22 »

So, along with a redesign of the appropriate websites, are suggesting some sort of volunteer quality management group (sounds terrible Wink) that picks out the interesting points and makes sure they get to the front along with making sure the organisation of the Wiki stays consistent and managed?

I suppose you really need some ** ADMIN/SUN ** input at this point..

Kev

Offline oNyx

JGO Coder


Medals: 2


pixels! :x


« Reply #2 - Posted 2003-08-11 11:52:52 »

Ahem. Yes... the frontpage...

Yea, I think it's pretty useless right now... infact I hadn't even looked at it since the forum was back :>

弾幕 ☆ @mahonnaiseblog
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 422
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #3 - Posted 2003-08-11 13:24:41 »

This forum is the nexus of the Java gaming community. It should be the front page, one way or the other.


Cas Smiley

Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #4 - Posted 2003-08-11 13:36:02 »

Quote
This forum is the nexus of the Java gaming community. It should be the front page, one way or the other.


...but, surely, a forum can only ever be a forum, whereas a front page can be a lot more? (and can include direct links into the forum).  A good web designer (not just someone who can "program" HTML) could work wonders...

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline tortoise

Junior Devvie




<3 Shmups


« Reply #5 - Posted 2003-08-11 14:11:12 »

This always happens with sites that have active forums. Of all the forums I frequent, I rarely if ever visit their main page.

I think non forum content such as the wiki and website can be a great place for FAQs and tutorials, so people can be pointed in that direction when the questions come up here.

Forums are good for flowing content, websites are good for static content. Surely game development has both types.
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #6 - Posted 2003-08-11 14:32:25 »

Quote
This always happens with sites that have active forums. Of all the forums I frequent, I rarely if ever visit their main page.


Presumably either they don't have much need for non-forum stuff (many sites I use are able to satisfy all their users only using the features provided by a forum - but that is apparently not the case with JGO), or they don't have carefully-designed front pages?

Quote

Forums are good for flowing content, websites are good for static content. Surely game development has both types.


Hmm. So why are news sites so popular, and so very much more popular than NNTP feeds (amongst general, non-techy/specialist population)?

I always thought one of the greatest advantages of HTML and the web was the speed with which websites could be changed. These days, free CMS's/DMS's make this process effortless, in addition to fast.

I can't agree that forums are even good for "flowing content". Instead I'd say they're very good for rotating content, where they  sort by "most recent post", and are good for discussion. They're good for expounding upon an idea, because the entire reasoning is also recorded chronologically (despite being presented reverse-chrono, which is a nice UI trick).

What they aren't good at is summarising conversations. In a perfect world, a different tool exists which is used to summarise the important conclusions of each discussion, and these are categorized and maintained. Otherwise, every newcomer has to read an exponentially increasing number of posts in order to catch up to the status quo?

It was my understanding that the Wiki was started in order to solve this kind of problem. But it isn't working.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline troggan

Junior Devvie




no guts no glory


« Reply #7 - Posted 2003-08-11 15:10:12 »

hm...the wiki was a good idea in the first place, but it's to hidden and without any content. in my firm we use a wiki for a lot of stuff. it works great, but i think a cms with only a few guys who maintain it would be better.

the wiki in my firm works, because only a few people are working with it. we have a very strikt policy on what to add and where to add it. i have seen a few wikis on the web, but none was very good structured.

but what do the admins think about all this Wink ?


(http://www.wannawork.de) - Will work for food
(http://tvbrowser.org) - Java EPG
Offline ChrisM

JGO Coder


Medals: 3
Projects: 1
Exp: 14 years


Luke...END OF LINE


« Reply #8 - Posted 2003-08-11 15:56:55 »

Ok, the "admin" here understands your points and they are well taken.  The issue sis that we are constrained by the overall Java.Net framework.  Remember, we launched this entire community (Java.Net) in June.  It will take a little bit of time to work out the kinks.

We will continue to improve the site over time.  Also, we will discuss the POSSIBILITY of allowing community members to help support the site by becoming publishers/editors,  If we can find a way that is workable.

Thanks for your continued support. Smiley

-SG

Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #9 - Posted 2003-08-11 17:18:05 »

Surely in the short term we can get some links in the banner at the top of these forums?  To the back to the Wiki and other community pages I mean...  

And since you can change the main content in the middle of the http://community.java.net/games/ page it can't be all that hard to stick some more prominent links to things, maybe with a larger description about what is at each link.

Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline troggan

Junior Devvie




no guts no glory


« Reply #10 - Posted 2003-08-11 17:21:29 »

In the mean time we should add all the examples (GAGETimer and Texture stuff....) to the Wiki. I will have time for it on sunday, if anyone is faster, please do it Wink

troggan

(http://www.wannawork.de) - Will work for food
(http://tvbrowser.org) - Java EPG
Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #11 - Posted 2003-08-11 17:58:28 »

Do links to the wiki e.g. http://wiki.java.net/bin/view/Games work if you are not already logged in to the community at java.net?
(test it ^ Smiley )

Yep, it appears so.  That's good. It would really suck otherwise.

Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Devvie




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #12 - Posted 2003-08-11 18:19:11 »

Quote
Surely in the short term we can get some links in the banner at the top of these forums?  To the back to the Wiki and other community pages I mean...

Something akin to the NavBar at the top of the project pages http://games.dev.java.net/nonav/navbar.html, or did you hava something else in mind?

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline troggan

Junior Devvie




no guts no glory


« Reply #13 - Posted 2003-08-11 18:37:48 »

A little bit more information on whats there would be great...but as a start, why not Wink

(http://www.wannawork.de) - Will work for food
(http://tvbrowser.org) - Java EPG
Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #14 - Posted 2003-08-11 19:00:50 »

Yeah, something along that line.. Although you have an interesting definition of 'top' Smiley  That line shows up over halfway down the screen on the project pages...  I know it is at the top of the content that you can define per project.. but as a navigation tool it's placement isn't ideal.  Maybe if all of that was shoved to the left side on the project pages, like how we have a link to the forums now.

But for here, anything that pulls in the Wiki, and the project sites would be great.

Offline gregorypierce

Senior Devvie




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #15 - Posted 2003-08-11 20:01:48 »

I'll encourage the Sun folks to visit the flipcode.com site. While flipcode has an incredibly active community I ALWAYS visit the front page of that site. Why? Screenshots of games,projects, etc. and news about the industry, products being released, etc.

For a site that is incredibly focussed on games, it take a lot to actually see an image of one. Of other interest might be developer diaries linked to the front page as that's something I usually portal into from time to time as well. Wouldn't hurt to include the RSS of some of the blogs for people around here either.

In short - the problem is that we have all this content and its getting buried in the forums because there really is no better place for it (and I loathe and despise the Wiki).

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Devvie




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #16 - Posted 2003-08-11 20:28:46 »

Regarding the NavBar:

Yeah, I know it's not on the "top" of the project pages, but it's as far north as we can put it. If you look at non-"project home" pages like http://joal-demos.dev.java.net/devmaster/lesson1.html you'll get a better sense of what I mean. It's still not at the "top" but it's pretty darn close Smiley

Also, I need to get with Chris on this but if you go to: http://games.dev.java.net/forums you do get the side panel with the links to projects, the Wiki etc. There's currently a bug with resizing the scrollbars when you navigate through topics (too much page space sometimes) and there seems to be a bug when running inside of IE, but otherwise it may fit what you're asking for.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 422
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #17 - Posted 2003-08-12 07:39:22 »

Just get the sidebar on the side of these forums and you're halfway there.

Cas Smiley

Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #18 - Posted 2003-08-12 10:38:41 »

That's what the above link does.. though it's not perfect.

Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Devvie




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #19 - Posted 2003-08-12 15:31:55 »

Quote
Just get the sidebar on the side of these forums and you're halfway there

Yeah, I guess I wasn't clear. Going to http://games.dev.java.net/forums takes you to a page with the JGO forums nested in the java.net template.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
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