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    A New Beginning - Page Two by shiva

    The Site
    I had mentioned before that I started in January. It took 2 weeks just to get the basic design up, which was ready the first week of February. Since then, I have been adding and changing elements of the various layouts, adding a couple of things here, and taking out bits there. For those of you who like to look at the coding, you may notice there's a lot of bad or useless coding in the pages.

    There's a very simple reason for this. For those of you who are first time visitors, and thus do not realize the scope of this site, when I started the new format, GameSurge had over 2100 HTML pages, and over 5500 separate files. It has only been the last couple of weeks that I have started the process of converting those pages over to this new design.

    At the present moment, I have translated about 1000 of those pages. As much as I want perfect, tight, fast loading code, it would mean I would have to go through every single page, remove all the excess codes, tighten up everything, and then the crunch the HTML coding down. (Believe it or not, just doing some simple things like removing false spaces and comments can save you as much as 20% of your coding, thus making loading time a lot faster.) If I had made the site "code perfect", I have no doubt that it would take a year just to get all the pages done.

    Instead, I decided to get it up, and worry about it later, as I am aching to get this site off and running. The new format for GameSurge just isn't a new design, but new CGI, and most importantly, a new site concept.

    I had expressed dissatisfaction with the direction AN was going towards. The problems with staff, or the lack of it, was hurting this site greatly. Several times, we got a lot of hits, only to lose them because we were not able to update the content on a regular basis. And because this site is so large, and with me just doing it all, a lot of sections were getting badly hurt with neglect.

    This site lacked focus, a direction that we can move towards, and most importantly of all, the concept of the sites existence was lost. GameSurge was changed over from a small, narrow focus site when I took over, to be changed into more like my first site, shivaSite. Massive news and information, on a daily basis. But I lost sight of my goals, I tried to please everyone at once, even to the point of spending huge amounts of time on new projects and sections for staff members to run, only to see them not putting in the time or effort into them. In nearly all the cases, those people actually didn't do anything with them. I, as webmaster, am responsible to "pull up the slack", and it got to much for one person to handle.

    We tried to do too much at once. Instead of concentrating on our strengths, and building on what we had, we expanded the site, and kept expanding the site, while ignoring the things that make this site so good in the first place. We didn't finish what we had started.

    A lot of this was because of promises made to me that wasn't kept. I can assure you, that this won't happen anymore. If you notice, there's a few "empty" pages, and the first order of business is to start getting them filled.

    At the present moment, I have 4 real good staff members. These are the people who have stuck with me through thick and thin. I have assigned duties to each of them, and since I know these guys real well, I know I can depend on them. Several times, I have referred the people that work here as a "family". These guys are well described in that sense, as I have known them for a very long time, during the days I could be called a HTML newbie. With luck, we can add more members to our family, but if not, we will just soldier on.

    I finally have people that I can rely on, and together, we have worked out an action plan to make this site into something unique and special. I have decided that it's time to have fun again, to be like when I ran shivaSite, to do things I like to do, and as it worked out, the other members all want the same goals, and to do their own separate things to forward the site in that direction.

    My first order of business is to get the content back up, with the first priority being the Strategy section. This site has been lacking in strats for a very long time, and since I have a talent for finding information, I have taken over the section, and will start running it myself. Expect a lot of manuals, walkthroughs, FAQs, and codes for all gaming systems and arcade, from the Apple II to the Vectrex. I have the info gathered now to use as a base, it's just organizing it all at the moment. The first lot is due Monday. We should have nearly 40 MEGs of strategies up and running soon.

    As well, I want to give the key points for the changes here at GameSurge:

    • The site direction will move more towards the written word. There are already editorials written, but the target is to have at least one special article or feature per day. Here's the schedule...
      • Thursday - Will be the day I will do a column or editorial, whether a help file for the SSSG, or just a rant, a special report, or even another version of "The Truth".
      • Friday - Every week, we present to you, Zero Hour, a new weekly column written by staff member Zero. This can be just about anything. I should mention the first two editorials were very good, and well worth the read.
      • Saturday - Stormcaller starts his column. This is the newest editorial/column feature added to GameSurge. Stormy does some very nice work, so it should be a very good read. I believe the first column will be on Hasbro attacking other companies over clones of the old Atari games that Hasbro has the license for.
      • Sunday - Id and Zero have combined for a new weekly column, called Rants and Ravings, where they both write short articles on what struck them about gaming over the previous week.
      • Other days - This is still being planned. Id has always wanted to do his own column, and there's talk of other things as well, but they are in the planning stages at the moment. There are plans to have one day for interviews, and another day just for the viewer editorials we receive. This all depends on submissions of course, but we are also working on other things. We will announce them as time goes by.

    • With the loss of 2 staff members that were reviewers here to paying positions with other sites, we have decided to start doing more reviews and previews of computer games, and to start getting the console section going. Id has taken charge of that department, with all staff, including myself, contributing. I also hope that we can get at least a few new reviews up soon, even if they are in short form. I am very proud of the way the review section looks and has been redone. It's been a long hard process, but I believe this is my finest work to date. We are finally reaping the benefits of this section, and we hope to continue the tradition for a long time to come.

      It's a bit of work on my part, with the graphics and all, but soon, we will be putting up at the very least, public domain reviews, all in the style of the new site. Though content is king among a lot of websites, we have decided to reflect the quality of this site, so only the best work will be placed here. If there are any people who know of first rate reviews, or wish to submit reviews to this site, you can contact me directly at

    • As you have noticed, several major sections did not make it to the new design. Most importantly, the individual game sections. The reason is very simple. These sections are massive, and require a lot of work to convert over and upload. This is not the problem as much as the lack of people that are needed to update these sections on a regular basis. Unfortunately, these sections have seen better days due to neglect.

      Though the amount of information contained in these sections are huge, things like the screenshots and the files sections just can't be updated regularly due to several reasons; a lack of time on my part, the fact that no-one has stepped forward to take over the sections and run them as webmaster, let alone as a staff member, and a total lack of interest by myself to take the time to keep them constantly updated. At the moment, the plan for these site sections are to strip them of the more useful pages, and to reduce the upkeep on them. These sections will appear, without the files, screenshots, pages needing updates etc, as I find the time to work on them. Since I don't have the people to run them properly, I'm finding that I am placing these sections lower on my list of site matters, so there's no time frame set at the moment.

    • As well, I will be working on expanding several sections, most notably, the technical end of the various sections. The Dreamcast Technical page has just been expanded, with new articles on Windows CE programing, as well as special plans for the section expansion are in place for the programmer who likes to dabble in Dreamcast VMU programing. Future plans include new technical sections on the various other systems, and dev. kits for computer game development, like the 6802 processor lines. Look for that to come in the months ahead.

    • Though we have the base set of the site in place, there's very little actually up in comparison to what we have. We will work section by section till we get all the content up, and then start work on updating, and expanding each section as we go along. It will take a while, as I still have over 100 MEGs to work on, but it should all be up in a couple of months. At the moment, the arcade section, minus the strategy section, is now up. I have just finished updating and putting up fully, the Pinball2000 section. Additional new content to the arcade section will include reviews and walkthroughs added to the pinball and P2K sections, as well as FAQs on maintenance and collecting arcade machines.

    • We have been talking about other projects, but there is only a certain amount of time that 4 people can work with. We are working on it though, and hopefully, every visit you make to this site will find at least something new added for you to peruse.

    The goal of GameSurge is to hit the next level, to stop being a site with a "small" mentality. We may never hit the level of say a Gamespot or an IGN, but we have come to the realization that there's no "middle ground" between the small general game sites and the large commercial game sites. That is where GameSurge will fit in.

    The Internet Gaming community is at a crossroads. We are at the stage in time where the truly big sites are coming into being, where they are finding the audience and the revenue to justify their existence. But as this is all just beginning to emerge, those sites are finding that there are not a sufficient amount of people available to fill the positions available that have the knowledge, or the experience, in this new and rapidly exploding field.

    GameSurge will strive to fill that gap. The goal is to find, help train, and encourage the future news posters, editorialist, reviewers and designers, with an eye towards getting to the next level of experience, and doing what we love to do for a living. I have already seen it with two staff members here, and I would like to see it for all members of the "family". We don't make money, (I have yet to see one penny from this site, and I doubt I ever will) we never get software or hardware to review, and certainly, we don't get the props from the other sites or the developers, but I know this site will be successful in many ways in the future, it already is. I invite you, the reader, to come along for the ride.

    Comments on this article are appreciated, and can be sent directly to the webmaster, shiva at

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