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Upgrade Update and Site Organization

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khawk

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Hello, GameDev.net members.

We are in the process of upgrading the site software and some cost-saving changes to our servers. For the next few weeks I want to provide some more information on the changes involved and ask for feedback from the community.

As for the upgrade itself, our current database is replicated to the new server. As part of the replication process we are transforming data from the current database to the new software's database to complete the conversion. We're now reaching a point where we need to make decisions regarding how data is organized before we can consider the replication 100%. These decisions also affect the skin and layout of the new site, which we haven't started - so we've arrived to a point where decisions must be made.

So today, I want ask for opinions on site organization. We're considering a major shift from the current organization, which aside from minor additions and tweaks has been around since the start of GameDev.net in 1999. In case you weren't around the games industry at that time, things have changed quite a bit since then and the topics of interest have changed as well.

Right now the site is organized into 3 main areas:


  • Technical
  • Creative
  • Business

    The forums have a 4th category for Community.

    Our proposal looks like this:


    • Programming
    • Design
    • Art
    • Audio
    • Business
    • Industry
    • DevOps
    • Education
    • Community

      What this would do is to elevate some of the more hidden areas of GameDev.net - things like Art, Audio, Education.

      The implementation of this is TBD, but of course we're open to feedback. One approach we're considering is a multi-tier setup where these are the major categories but it's the second level where specific topics provided - similar to today's organization. For example, the Programming category might have as sub-categories:


      • Graphics/Rendering
      • AI
      • Math & Physics
      • Networking
      • etc

        Why make these changes?

        We could continue as things are, but we feel that our current taxonomy does not address the reality of today's games industry or the technologies involved in game development. We feel that GameDev.net needs to evolve as the industry evolves.

        This is one of several major changes under consideration, but we don't want to make these decisions in complete isolation. We have a fantastic community here with a lot of great ideas. Please, leave your thoughts in the comments below if you'd like to influence the decision making process.

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Sounds good to me. We all know how much asset creation has moved to becoming the major overhead in game dev so why not highlight it?

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I am all for updating to better reflect reality, but you need to keep it simple. Sure, you'd elevate obscure areas, but you'd also kill everything else.

Why doesn't business have an entry for marketing? It feels like the top concern, not legal or management.

Maybe rename creative to content creation? Sound, 3D modeling, sprites, level design, etc as subcategories?

I'd probably support splitting technical since it's way too bloated (11 entries, and plenty missing even still). Maybe if you can figure out a way to describe building your own stuff versus using existing tools. It feels like they're mixed together even though they have zero overlap on an individual level. I absolutely do not need to know how to implement a game engine if I'm using Unity, for example. And someone making their own engine has no use for how to use Unity. Not that there is a good entry for using a game engine right now, but hopefully there will be.

I have no idea what education means. If you're talking about educational game design, it doesn't feel different enough to need a category. You do the same stuff. If you're talking about tutorials and learning, I have to ask what aspect of the site is aimed anywhere else in the first place?

I don't know what industry would be either. And devops feels like a subcategory or something relating to teams that should exist.

But these are all random ideas without any real thought put into it. I'd just hate to see you make the equivalent of an awful UI where there's a hundred menus and you have to go six deep in sub menus before you can even find anything. Best of luck.

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I have something I was thinking about.

I like the blog portion of the site, gives me motivation to work on and showcase my game; however, I also like what CyrusTheVirus is doing with his forum feed in the creative visuals section.  There he continually updates the same forum feed.  I personally like that and was thinking about maybe doing something similar in the future in the game-design section regarding my game.  in the forums the last talked about think jumps to the top, where as with the blogs, they just get sent into oblivion, they're more upkeep in my opinion.  

Those are just my thoughts.  

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Maybe rename creative to content creation? Sound, 3D modeling, sprites, level design, etc as subcategories?

Personally, 'creative' inspires me, content creation sounds too functional.

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I have something I was thinking about.

I like the blog portion of the site, gives me motivation to work on and showcase my game; however, I also like what CyrusTheVirus is doing with his forum feed in the creative visuals section.  There he continually updates the same forum feed.  I personally like that and was thinking about maybe doing something similar in the future in the game-design section regarding my game.  in the forums the last talked about think jumps to the top, where as with the blogs, they just get sent into oblivion, they're more upkeep in my opinion.  

Those are just my thoughts.  

 

That's interesting feedback. A recent change has been to highlight popular blogs - basically blogs getting a lot of activity through a combination of views and comments, with priority to more recent blog posts.

But maybe the current setup doesn't highlight blogs well enough in terms of knowing to go to your blog, which is where the ever-updating forum post is more useful.

If, say, you had a place to update a blog about your project - and your project had a place to live - then maybe that would be more useful for updating about your project? Still a blog concept, but more project focused.

This is a problem I'd like us to solve. The forum posts are great - and I agree it's really neat to see the progress - but I think there are better formats for feedback and regular project updates and maybe we just haven't provided that better format yet.

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I am all for updating to better reflect reality, but you need to keep it simple. Sure, you'd elevate obscure areas, but you'd also kill everything else.

Why doesn't business have an entry for marketing? It feels like the top concern, not legal or management.

Maybe rename creative to content creation? Sound, 3D modeling, sprites, level design, etc as subcategories?

I'd probably support splitting technical since it's way too bloated (11 entries, and plenty missing even still). Maybe if you can figure out a way to describe building your own stuff versus using existing tools. It feels like they're mixed together even though they have zero overlap on an individual level. I absolutely do not need to know how to implement a game engine if I'm using Unity, for example. And someone making their own engine has no use for how to use Unity. Not that there is a good entry for using a game engine right now, but hopefully there will be.

I have no idea what education means. If you're talking about educational game design, it doesn't feel different enough to need a category. You do the same stuff. If you're talking about tutorials and learning, I have to ask what aspect of the site is aimed anywhere else in the first place?

I don't know what industry would be either. And devops feels like a subcategory or something relating to teams that should exist.

But these are all random ideas without any real thought put into it. I'd just hate to see you make the equivalent of an awful UI where there's a hundred menus and you have to go six deep in sub menus before you can even find anything. Best of luck.

Thanks for the feedback. We certainly agree with it, and we wouldn't want to create an overwhelming number of categories. Instead this would be a flattening of the top-level category while elevating a few that we've traditionally buried. As a second tier we might still use sub-categories, but after that we'd use tags or other means to identify interests in a topic.

Another reason I didn't mention is that this sort of organization allows us to create hubs of information. For instance, want to see all activity related to Unity development for artists - with better organization we can create a hub for that.

Either way, appreciate the feedback. It's definitely a concern to over-categorize.

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If, say, you had a place to update a blog about your project - and your project had a place to live - then maybe that would be more useful for updating about your project? Still a blog concept, but more project focused.

that sounds awesome.

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"Design" looks too broad to me. If I make an UML design, is that design or programming? If I design a set of backgrounds as a template, is that design or art?

If I construct an algorithm to solve a problem, is that design? Imho every single bit and every single pixel of a game is designed.

 

Likely you aim to have "game design" there, which is also very confusing to many. I don't have a good solution, but I can toss a few alternatives in.

- Game ideas and mechanics

- Look and feel

- Game concepts

A bit more oriented to a first time reader rather than to veterans familiar with the meaning of the technical concept.

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"Design" looks too broad to me. If I make an UML design, is that design or programming? If I design a set of backgrounds as a template, is that design or art?

If I construct an algorithm to solve a problem, is that design? Imho every single bit and every single pixel of a game is designed.

 

Likely you aim to have "game design" there, which is also very confusing to many. I don't have a good solution, but I can toss a few alternatives in.

- Game ideas and mechanics

- Look and feel

- Game concepts

A bit more oriented to a first time reader rather than to veterans familiar with the meaning of the technical concept.

Fair point. Although we have a Game Design forum now and the same article category. Perhaps that would be a better name.

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