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Extrarius

Member Since 01 Apr 2002
Offline Last Active Dec 06 2012 09:53 AM

#4756291 What Does Everyone Think About The New Site Layout?

Posted by Extrarius on 09 January 2011 - 04:51 PM

I have to say that I'm unhappy with the new site. I liked the old one, and while it definitely needed improvement, I wouldn't call what we have now anything more than a step in the right direction.

1. De-emphasis of the forums - For some reason the forums feel even more hidden away than they were before. It takes an extra click to go through the drop-down menu now, and the recent topics menu has been moved all the way down the main page. So much emphasis is being placed on the Careers and Articles sections, even though GDNet does not excel in those areas. Looking at the Careers page is pretty pathetic, and the articles section hardly ever has real technical content. I thought the new site would focus more on the forums, which are GDNet's strongest feature.

2. Web 2.0 - I think it's easy to see that they went way overboard in this area. Every page feels cluttered with tons of junk that isn't even that useful. Why are there sharing buttons all over the place? Why is so much space wasted? What is the point of friend lists? Why are there status updates next to the forum listing? It's like all this stuff was added just because they could. GDNet is not Facebook, and it is not Twitter. I don't see why it should be trying to emulate them either.

3. Death of GDNet+ - I think you guys are really shooting yourselves in the foot here with this one. You've cheapened GDNet+ significantly by giving everyone journals and avatars, when instead you should have been trying to add as many new things to GDNet+ as possible to make it more attractive and a more viable source of revenue. I mean, this is now listed as a primary feature of GDNet+:
"Up to 500 personal messages (10x more!)"

Seriously? You're touting an increased MAILBOX SIZE as a selling point? I've been subscribing to GDNet+ for years now, but I think when the renewal comes around again I'll be dropping it.

4. Widescreen Users - Why have we squished everything together, when everyone and their mom is moving towards widescreen monitors these days? It just makes no sense at all. So much horizontal space is lost, which in turn increases the vertical space required to read anything. Very frustrating.

5. Losing the Rating System - I know the rating system has always been controversial, but what you have now is completely pointless and should not even exist. No more down voting removes any incentive to keep your posts to community standards. As long as you don't do anything explicitly bannable, you can get away with whatever you like. Additionally, voting on posts and not users leads to run-away inflation for users who post a lot. Want more reputation? Just post more! It emphasizes quantity over quality, which is never a great idea. Finally, the rating is so hidden now that it might as well not even exist. The way I see it, you should either do it properly, or just remove the feature entirely if you feel GDNet users shouldn't be worrying about ratings at all. One or the other; not this middle ground.

6. Sane Defaults - I like that notifications are now very customizable, but someone wasn't thinking when the defaults were set. I started receiving emails for all sorts of useless events here, such as a user adding me as a friend. So much so, in fact, that GMail started putting everything coming from GDNet into the spam folder. Another questionable default is that of allowing people to be friends with you; apparently the default is to let them add you as a friend without you having any say in the matter. Now that they're friends, I have no way of getting rid of them, so they're not really friends as much as they are fans at this point :rolleyes:

Some of these problems are expected from a new software product, and I'm sure some will be fixed in the months to come. Unfortunately, I think a lot of them are explicit design decisions that have already been made. Hopefully not everything is set in stone at this point.

I entirely agree. I don't really like this new direction at all. I have enjoyed the forums here for a long while, but the new look completely turns me off from this site. I'm enduring a strong headache from the theme just to type this, and I'll likely not be back until I'm given a theme that doesn't burn my retinas. Even once that is changed, I'll probably drop this from my reading list if the community moves in the direction that the new site seems to be leading. I don't visit social networking sites for a reason, and if this site is walking away from its competency in technical discussions, it doesn't have a purpose for me any more. I can understanding wanting to target younger generations, but it'd be a shame for that to come at the cost of the experienced professionals that make up the foundation of these forums.

The old forums had a subtle yet significant selection of layout where the post was the only element to take up significant space with all the other information being squashed into a tiny space proportional to it's importance in discussions.


#3551318 Fast drawing to screen (Win32/GDI)

Posted by Extrarius on 07 April 2006 - 05:07 AM

At work I had a project not too long ago with similar requirements, and I ended up with a very fast solution:

1) Create a device independant bitmap using CreateDIBSection (use a negative heigh to make the DIB top->down so the pointer is to pixel (0,0) in the upper left corner)
2) Create a memory DC using CreateCompatibleDC with the DC for your window (which should have the 'Own DC' flag set in the window class)
3) Select the DIB into the DC creatd in step 2

4) Create a device dependant bitmap using CreateCompatibleBitmap with the DC for your window
5) Create a memory DC using CreateCompatibleDC with the DC for your window
6) SelectObject the bitmap into the DC creatd in step 5

loop
7) Call FlushGDI() to ensure nothing is messing with the DIB (mainly relevant if you're using GDI functions to draw things onto the DIB)
8) Draw to the DIB created in 1 using the pointer given by CreateDIBSection (don't forget each line is a multiple of 4 bytes, even if you're using 24-bit color, so if your line would be 15 bytes {5 pixels @ 24bpp}, increment the pointer by 16 to get to next line)
9) Use BitBlt or StretchBlt to copy from the DC in step 2 to copy to the DC in step 5
10) Use BitBlt or StretchBlt to copy from the DC in step 5 to your window
endloop

11) SelectObject old bitmaps to their DCs, DeleteDC on both created DCs, DeleteObject on the bitmap and DIB

The reason for the separate bitmap is basically as a double buffer (it stores the complete scene, so you could draw it on the WM_PAINT event to ensure the window is redrawn with the latest frame, for example), but IME it also helps speed things up for some reason. The reason I didn't use StretchDIBits to blit the DIB is that it seemed to be completely sporadic - sometimes it didn't work at all, sometimes it would bring the program to a crawl, and sometimes it worked just fine. It could be the video drivers or something like that, but whatever the cause it was not reliable.


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