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GameDev.net is going to get a whole lot better

Posted by Michael Tanczos, 07 September 2011 · 876 views

When you've been around as long as GameDev.net (12+ years) you see a lot of stuff happen around the industry. During that time we moved in different directions as well. This lead us to implement features and resource collections that at this point we no longer consider that important, but have kept around largely because of tradition. This is pure feature bloat. In the quest to do everything well it's easy to end up spreading yourself thin and doing fewer and fewer things particularly well. With a site lifetime as long as ours it was pretty clear that if you want to move forward you need to take a step back and cut down on anything that we either aren't doing well, is obsolete, or isn't clearly related to game development.

We are working on a major revamp of the site both from a software standard as well as from an organizational standpoint. This change was actually in planning before the start of the year prior to putting this new software in place. Our goal at the start of the year was to try and duplicate as much of the existing functionality of the old site as possible. To a large extent we were successful, but we certainly took some bumps and bruises with some areas of the site. Our forums are our heart and soul, no doubt about that. We have one of the most dedicated communities for game development on the net today thanks to all of you.

Even before our launch we had an idea of where we wanted to go for the second half of the year, and we knew the changes were going to be pretty awesome. We were going to revamp this site into something we can all use as a community to begin to collect great tutorials and information all in one place.. and it's going to be simple.

For that reason, we are going with a radical new approach.. something we have never done before. When you look up at the top menu and see "Features", "Community", "Resources" it's easy to get lost where you want to go. From our own standpoint we may love XNA and can eventually find the DirectX and XNA forum, but we're not going to go digging in the other deeply nested categorization schemes in books and articles to find more XNA stuff when Google works just fine.

Our entire site is going to revolve around a substantially smaller set of topics (note that we may tweak these):
  • Beginners
  • Game Programming
  • General Programming
  • Graphics Programming and Theory
  • DirectX and XNA
  • OpenGL
  • Multiplayer and Network Programming
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Math and Physics
  • Mobile Development
  • APIs and Tools
  • Game Design
  • Music and Sound
  • Visual Arts
  • Breaking into the Games Industry
  • Business and Law of Game Development
Sixteen topics that cover technical, creative, and business matters.. that's it. Still sound like a lot? Right now we have categorization schemes with hundreds of categories. We even have 35 forums right now that we will look to reduce to match up with those categories. Rest assured, a few of your favorites like the GDNet Lounge, Your Announcements, and Help Wanted will still remain. For specific information associated with forum topics, journals, and articles we are going to rely heavily on tagging.. a new feature introduced into version 3.2 of the IPS software.

Every single topic will be directly accessible from the main menu. This will be the fastest you have ever been able to get at the topics you are interested in. Take a sneak peak at what you'll see when you click on a topic (note that the image below demonstrates a clear work in progress and is subject to change):

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If you are looking closely you'll notice that the UI is much cleaner than what is on the current site and there are tabs accessible that will contain resources and member activity. Our goal is to make it as easy to post resources like journals, images, and articles related to a particular topic as it easy to create forum posts. And that's all we're going to share for now. ;)

Version 3.2 of the IPS Community Suite that we use also will come with a ton of great new stuff. Check out some of the images below or take a visit to the IPS Community Suite web site to view a more descriptive list of what was added to the software.

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Sounds exciting! I like the idea of having the topics in the main menu. I'm only missing a place for isometric land but I guess Game programming, OpenGL, DirectX are the places to go.
I like it
Hell, it's about time.

Missing IOTD :(
IOTD is still going to be there.. that's definitely sticking around.
What about scripting languages like LUA and Python? Would they come under APIs and Tools?
Yep, they would

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