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Post 18 Feb 2013, 9:28 am

As for the switchboard comments, I appreciate the comments and criticism. We have had the same layout for virtually the entire lifetime of Redscape and we are all pretty familiar and comfortable with it. But what about visitors and new players? Let me make a few additional arguments in defense of the intro page/switchboard concept:

The main argument against a switchboard seems to be the ability of the single page structure to show other areas of interest in order to induce players to navigate into other areas versus players focusing on just one page for all of their Redscape time, ignoring the rest, or not having the rest of the site visible to prick their interest. Fair enough.

I'm all for simplicity. The easier it is to get around a web site, the more I like it. But is this "out-of-site-out-of-mind" concern really different from what historically goes on here? Even at its lowest ebb, Redscape visitors and members have tended to gravitate to one or two forums (ie politics and opinion) while ignoring others. Just look at what forums now are being used.

What happens when we get back to the point of having many active games and message forums? We wind up with a long, vertically-scrolling page that you must move down just to SEE what areas and topics are available. Who really likes to scroll down long web pages, anyway? If you have to scroll down to see it, it might just as well not be there. Furthermore, one page means an implied hierarchy of importance:

1. We wind up with arguments about the order (and implied importance) of topic areas on the page.
2. Are you going to be anxious to come here if you have to always scroll to the bottom of the page just to find your apparently less-important topic?

My point is that we provide access to all areas on one screen, without an obvious implication of what is the least important. On each linked-to page (e.g. a nav bar on a border), we have links to the other pages, so all areas are visible, always available. Redscape does have a JUMP TO option, but you have to look for it. Also, I think actual links are more obvious and easier for players to use. So we do not need to force players back to the switchboard just to go to another area. It's just a starting point. The main page could also include announcements highlighting special events in particular forums (e.g. "new game forming in Game of Thrones!"), as well as the always-useful links to membership signups and account maintenance, etc.

Now, look at the venerable Diplomatic Pouch web site. It is based on a switchboard structure. The main page introduces the site and provides links to its topic pages. A nav bar at the top of every page provides immediate access to every other page on the site, without a lot of scrolling. I'm not saying we need to look like that, of course. I'm just pointing out a good example of what I'm talking about. And that's about it, I reckon.
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Rally Racer (Pro III)
 
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Post 18 Feb 2013, 10:49 am

Something else that might be useful on a re-launch: An indicator next to a user's name (star, flag, whatever) designating them as a financial contributor. The site is funded by user donations (and a candy machine) so acknowledgement of that support would induce further donations. I'm not suggesting 'member levels' ala NPR, after all each of us has our own means to donate, but just a token of appreciation.

Here's an example of another gaming site's donation page: http://www.youplay.it/donate/contributors.asp
An unobtrusive link to such a page would also be a good idea.
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Post 18 Feb 2013, 12:46 pm

The rankings...
One thing to also consider and something that somewhat infuriates me,
We play this game to WIN, but after the win is no longer possible we see so many who strive for simple survival, I think that removes some of the revenge factor one should face when stabbing another. You win ...great, if you survive a solo..who cares? (same as losing in my book). Redscape did have a reputation as being a carebear Dip site and frankly, I tend to agree with that assessment to a great degree.

the "Switchboard"...
Out of site, out of mind is most certainly what would happen. The current design layout is very user friendly and very intuitive. It should certainly be cleaned up and streamlined no doubt. But having fewer broader topics would allow people to stay on top of what was going on with ease while allowing for the similar switchboard you desire? Your Diplomatic Pouch example is exactly what i fear ...it's horrible! Vdip is a hot newer site for Diplomacy, they too have a horrible interface. Embrace what works well for us is what I say!
A main page or switchboard page or whatever you want to call it would hardly be accessed and would not prompt people that something is going on in any particular category, people who want games would never bother to check out the variant section or strategy section, they would never notice some political topic that strikes a chord with them so they would never check it out, not a fan of this idea in the least!
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Post 18 Feb 2013, 3:10 pm

We play this game to WIN, but after the win is no longer possible we see so many who strive for simple survival, I think that removes some of the revenge factor one should face when stabbing another.

I'll agree with that sentiment, Tom. The objective is to win, not just to survive. That is one of the main complaints I have with judge games. They foster short games where the hapless are quickly eliminated and the rest go on to draw, collect their points and move on. There is nothing wrong with trying to survive when you are being attacked. I think what you are frowning on is the isolated player who is largely ignored the rest of the game because it is a one-center player; and that player is content to sit it out, for whatever reason. I cannot say I've never done that before, though it always feels pointless. I had not heard about the "Carebear" rep for our site, however. So with that philosophy, you would award points only for a DIAS or for the SOLO player, but nobody else. I can see the effectiveness of that, as it would mean players might strive more diligently to go for a SOLO or defeat a solo if they care at all for attaining points.

With regard to the debate over the switchboard, my point about the Pouch was simply the navigational aspects, not its specific look-and-feel. I do not agree that players would never visit other links. When I go to the Pouch, for example, I do poke around, even though most areas are static. I really do not believe that players would get channeled into one area and ignore the rest of the site, especially with active links always facing them. I think it is a matter of personal interest. If a player wants to hang out in the Political Forum, fine enough. Don't want to play? Fine enough. Want to cruise the site, we've got the links to get you where you want to go, without getting back to our main page and hitting a different area. Anyway, I'll live with whatever the majority likes.
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Post 20 Feb 2013, 9:55 am

Our web guy is starting work on the following:
Removing OTTO
Removing Steampunkt design
Fixing login in issues
Investigating a like/dislike trend button

This may involve an upgrade of PHPbb. If there are interruptions, follow the news on the Facebook news site for Redscape.

Early stages of this process, but letting you all know what is going on!
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Post 20 Feb 2013, 11:23 am

Thanks for the update!

If you need a donation drive, let us know. For those who will do so anyway, the Paypal address is redscapefund <at> gmail <dot> com
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Post 23 Feb 2013, 8:41 pm

Great news, Brad! What are you going to do about artwork: Can you recover the old page art and plug them in or are you searching or soliciting for new ideas?
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Post 23 Feb 2013, 10:48 pm

New ideas would be greatly appreciated! I cannot get the old...
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Post 24 Feb 2013, 7:15 am

I tried using the Wayback machine, and there is some artwork that can be salvaged.

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.redscape.com

I have a bitmap of the old forums header image, and a JPEG version of it looks close enough to me:

http://danivon.files.wordpress.com/2013 ... banner.jpg

(I can't post it on the forum as it is 1005 pixels wide and the limit is 600)
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Post 24 Feb 2013, 10:44 am

You mean Chad just simply dumped the old web pages and artwork without backing them up or storing them!?

Well, what are the requirements for the artwork?
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Post 24 Feb 2013, 1:12 pm

georgeatkins wrote:You mean Chad just simply dumped the old web pages and artwork without up backing them up or storing them!?
He did back up the site onto a server with a fixed IP for a while, but it disappeared one day.

Well, what are the requirements for the artwork?
I think 'less scary than what we have'

I think the colour scheme is fine, it's just the pictures. The old Albanian double-headed eagle was a fine logo, and the simple WWI military theme worked well enough.
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Post 24 Feb 2013, 2:01 pm

Danivon,
No, I'm not talking about themes. I'm talking about technical requirements for the art work. Density, size, format, etc.
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Post 24 Feb 2013, 5:08 pm

Checking...
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Post 25 Feb 2013, 12:21 pm

The cost to upgrade PHPbb, and get the tech stuff repaired is going to be between $200 and $600. We would love to have some assistance on that front. For those who have donated, thank you very much!
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Post 25 Feb 2013, 2:05 pm

I sincerely hope the old Redscape art works out.