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March 11, 2000
When I first decided back in November to redo the site, I wanted to reorganize
and redo every page and file. But I ran out of time for when we moved
servers here to Gameznet, so I just slapped it all together, with an eye
towards the future of getting it right for once and for all. What you
see before you, is the fruits of my labor.
This article is about what I did, why I did it, and where I'm going.
I first started the rounds of design concepts back in early January. As
my experience was very limited, I wanted to try and learn new design techniques
and page layouts, so I combined the 2 different concepts in my education,
and then used what I had learned by putting it into this site design.
There are some very new things that I have never done before in this design,
but as this was a learning experience more than anything, I just did it
anyway. Hopefully, I will have the time to write some articles in the
Small Site Survivors Guide, explaining what I learned, and how you can
use them for your web designs. Some of the newer techniques I learned
over the last 2 months include a one week study of the <Head> tags,
(For search engine positioning) and overall site loading speed. (If you
notice, especially on slow modems, the text comes up real fast. I did
this at the expense of the graphics loading first. It may cause the graphics
to take a while to finish loading, and thus the site appearance looks
a little weird at the start, but on the other hand, who wants to look
at a blank black screen for 30 seconds... * cough * gamespy * cough *)
It was a very long process, that included me doing 2 other designs until
I settled on this one before you. I even researched the colors of the
site, just for the right combination. The graphics itself took about 3
weeks of work, again due to how they looked compared to the rest of the
site. Also, to increased speed, I crunched them for faster loading, though
I have yet to complete the work on that, as the newer graphics haven't
been totally crunched yet. The Logo itself was at first, nearly 215k in
memory. I have since got it down to about 19k, and I believe it's 64 colors
If you notice, the logo itself is actually one big graphic, and yet the
logo will go to different sections of the site when you click on areas.
The was done with a concept called "hot spots", sort of like
an image map, but you draw coordinates in HTML right on one image, and
then link each box. (Look at the source code, it's actually quite easy
once you understand how to do it.) I did it as hotspots as opposed to
cutting graphics, and placing them within cells of a table, because this
is a LOT easier,(Tables can be the bane of all existence) and oddly enough,
it's faster. (less code) No wonder a lot of the "big boys" are
using them now.
Which gets me to my point. This is what I have been aiming for since
I started my very first webpage a year ago.. To be a "big boy",
to be able to rub shoulders with the larger sites, and not have to look
away ashamed. I spent a long time just looking at other major sites, stealing
the HTML code so I can dissect it in my editor. There is no better way
to learn than to look at other people's site designs, especially the ones
who can actually afford professionals to do it for them. (Don't worry,
I deleted them afterwards, I just wanted to study the code. There is no-one
else's coding in this site.) And this is where I'm aiming GameSurge at,
to become a better site, and to compete with the large sites. I think
I have done it, design wise. This design is far superior to any design
that I have done before. And with apologies, when I started this design,
I had said that I wanted to have a site as good as Blizzard Dynasty. I
think I have done better.
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