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New Software and Server for GameDev.net

khawk

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First Impressions Poll - New GameDev.net Software and Server  

83 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you think about the new platform?

    • I love it. Much better!
      23
    • It's okay. I hope it gets better.
      42
    • I hate it. Bring back the old stuff.
      14
  2. 2. What part of GameDev.net is your favorite?

    • Forums
      64
    • Blogs
      8
    • Articles
      4
    • News
      0
    • Careers
      0
    • Gallery
      0
    • Chat
      1
    • I don't have a favorite. I just get here from Google.
      2

It's been a busy few days. We upgraded the GameDev.net software and servers this weekend, and while there are plenty of problems to still fix the whole process has exceeded expectations.

What's new?

Quite a bit is new, actually. It wasn't just a software and server move. It was also an opportunity to change a few things. Here's a list of the big changes.

Article and Forum Category Changes

We merged quite a few of the article and forum categories, which now better align. If you remember, we had top-level categories of Technical, Creative, and Business. These were fine 18 years ago but the taxonomy of game development has changed a bit. These are the changes:

  • Top-level categories are now: Programming, Visual Arts, Business, Audio, Game Design, Community, Affiliates, and Topical
  • Graphics and GPU Programming now includes Graphics Programming and Theory, DirectX and XNA, OpenGL and Vulkan
  • General and Gameplay Programming includes Mobile Development
  • APIs, Middleware, and Tools is now Engines and Middleware
  • Visual Arts is now a top-level category with 2D and 3D Art as the forum
  • Breaking into the Games Industry is now Career Development
  • Game Design is now a top-level category with Game Design and Theory as a forum
  • Writing for Games has moved to the Game Design category, from Creative
  • Virtual Reality moved to Topical, which is intended for topics that span multiple categories

New GDNet+ Benefits

Be sure to check out all the GDNet+ Benefits that come with the upgrade. The list is much bigger!

Calendar

Now you can keep track of industry events with the calendar. We'll also create a community calendar in the near future.

Blogs

Blog navigation is now better. You can theoretically read every single blog post that has ever been submitted. On the old version you could only view the latest posts.

Activity

This is one of my favorite. The Activity stream is like "Latest Content" but much more powerful. The default is to be able to see all activity across the entire site, but if you don't like that you can create your own Activity Stream. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of the streams.

Careers

Freelancers are now a GDNet+ perk. If you're a freelancer wanting to broadcast your services to the GameDev.net audience I recommend you check it out - it's 1/6th the cost it used to be.

Jobs are now powered by our new job portal, GameDev Jobs at https://gamedev.jobs. We'll be making more changes here, but GameDev Jobs allows us to do much more with job seekers as well as employers - you can even upload your resume for employers to search. As with the GameDev Market, we'll be using GameDev Jobs to power job listings on GameDev.net.

Easily Add New Content 

You'll notice a "+" sign on the menu. This is a shortcut to add new content. Start a blog, submit news, start a new or topic quickly and easily.

Realtime Notifications and Messages

You might have noticed already, but you'll receive realtime notifications as activity happens around the site. If your browser supports it, you can receive the notifications on your desktop.

Login Integrations

For a while our Google, Facebook, and Twitter logins were broken. Not anymore!

Now you can login to GameDev.net with your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account, and if that isn't enough you can also login with your Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Discord accounts - the latter of which will also integrate your GameDev.net account with our Discord chat room.

Support

Having a problem with the site? Now you can use the support link at https://www.gamedev.net/support which is available in your Profile menu under "Support".

What are these Pixel things?

Some members have noticed a new attribute in their profiles called "Pixels". It's time to explain what those are, but first we need to talk about Reputation.

In our old system, reputation was awarded for up votes and down votes as one would expect, but it also awarded reputation for activity - things like logging in, posting a blog, upvoting someone, and so on. While it encouraged activity it didn't help with knowing which members were knowledgeable, helpful, or produced interesting content - basically the things that would define a member's reputation.

With our new system, reputation is exactly as it sounds. It is calculated entirely off of a member's up and down votes, which I encourage everyone to use. Not only do up/down votes let the community know about the reputation of the member, it also lets the community know the quality of the contribution.

Enter the Pixel. The Pixel is our way of valuing all the other stuff and more. Pixels reflect your activity as a member - you earn pixels by doing things on GameDev.net, such as posting a topic in the forums. If reputation is a measure of a member's helpfulness and quality, then pixels are a measure of a member's activity.

In fact, if we gamify GameDev.net, then pixels are your score.

But be aware, you can also lose pixels. One way is simply through decay. If you stop using GameDev.net then your balance will decrease. If you get warned, you'll lose pixels. Basically, do something that's not conducive to the community and good content, and pixels will be taken away.

Pixels are a neat concept. We're excited about what we can do with them.

As for current reputation, we're going to see if we can normalize reputation to real upvote/downvotes. I'll make another blog post about this when we have a solution. We need some kind of reset so the new definition of reputation matches members' values.

What's next?

We have a running TODO list and will be busy for a few more weeks to get the upgrade where we really want it to be. I don't want to spill too much on that, but we'll be bringing back the Image of the Day, improving the GameDev Marketplace and GameDev Jobs integrations, adding ways for you to showcase and get feedback on your projects, support for contests, and more.

We're excited because this upgrade marks a new beginning for GameDev.net, and we hope you agree.

As always, please leave your feedback in the comments below! And if you have any problems please let us know through the Support portal.



27 Comments




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Despite the couple of rough edges I think this has been a pretty smooth upgrade, really looking forward to pushing forward with it once everything is more finalised and stable again. 

Really loving the more usable mobile site, and looking forward to getting in to customising these activity streams! :)

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Still getting the hang of where things have moved to, but other than that everything looks and feels great!

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I understand the need of upgrading and for some things I also see the improvement.

But when it comes to navigating through the forum, man, I was almost used to the way it changed too last time and now it changes again, with auto preview etc. For me personally, I like a clear overview of all "latest forum activity" titles only, so I am able to quickly pick the ones out where I might be able to help out. I really have to search now to find anything.

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5 minutes ago, cozzie said:

I like a clear overview of all "latest forum activity" titles only

You can get this by setting up your own Activity Stream (Activity -> My Activity Streams -> Create New Stream.

Select:

  • Content Items Only
  • Topics

And whatever other options you might want. Save and you can see "latest forum activity".

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6 hours ago, khawk said:

You can get this by setting up your own Activity Stream (Activity -> My Activity Streams -> Create New Stream.

That's pretty awesome - can there be a way to pin (at least 1) custom stream to the top-right corner where the default "Unread Content" stream sits?  Use-case is that if I create a stream that suits me better as a default (and I have!) then I would like easy access to that stream instead of the site-provided default.  Otherwise my "go to" custom stream is buried in a dropdown menu 2-levels down (which is slightly too unforgiving of my sloppy mouse usage).

 

Overall I really like the direction the site is going! 

Edited by dmatter

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Rough edges... such as the broken link to http://blogs/entry/2263079-new-software-and-server-for-gamedevnet/ that seems to be the only way to reach this article?

We don't get a General Programming forum anymore, without the permanently-ambiguous "Gameplay" programming also being brought into it?

You're now linking against not one, not two, but TEN separate advertising services in every single pageload, all fighting for access to the page?

No Search/Find function anywhere to be found? Good luck hand-trawling the 144k topics in General Programming alone looking for if your question has been asked recently, and what other people have discussed more than one goldfish's memory ago.

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13 minutes ago, Wyrframe said:

Rough edges... such as the broken link to http://blogs/entry/2263079-new-software-and-server-for-gamedevnet/ that seems to be the only way to reach this article?

Thanks for the broken link report. This is accessible in the Staff Blog (Blogs menu item).

13 minutes ago, Wyrframe said:

We don't get a General Programming forum anymore

Right, general and gameplay were merged. With all of the forum merges, we expect Tags to be used to denote specifics of the topic. Tags are searchable/filterable, so if you're looking for something specific you can find it. This was discussed in the Staff blog a few months ago asking for feedback.

13 minutes ago, Wyrframe said:

You're now linking against not one, not two, but TEN separate advertising services in every single pageload, all fighting for access to the page?

Aside from fitting into the new layout, there have been no changes to ads. I'm not sure what your comment is referring to.

13 minutes ago, Wyrframe said:

No Search/Find function anywhere to be found? Good luck hand-trawling the 144k topics in General Programming alone looking for if your question has been asked recently, and what other people have discussed more than one goldfish's memory ago.

Really? Did you explore the Activity menu?

Search is in Activity -> Search.

gamedevsearch.png

In fact, explore the Activity menu in full to understand how easy it is to find exactly what you want now - and save it for your own use.

The Activity menu is not the greatest spot for the Search link, but we'll find a better one soon. Still.. a little exploration would find it.

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15 minutes ago, khawk said:

The Activity menu is not the greatest spot for the Search link, but we'll find a better one soon. Still.. a little exploration would find it.

Why on earth would you expect someone to look at the global navigation bar to find a search form for the forum or forum-topic they're already looking at... and then be somehow pleased that they have to pick the forum they wanted to search in again?

Even then. Let's give it a little test? Here's a topic started one month ago. It contains the precise phrase "measure memory used by process". Let's go to the search page, paste that into the search field, note that the default options include "title and body", "all content", and "all search terms", and hit enter. And the results are... three articles which each contain only one or two of those words.

Seriously. "Rough edges" doesn't begin to describe a search function that can't even find its own ass with both hands, never mind how cumbersome and hidden you've made accessing that search function in the first place.

 

13 minutes ago, khawk said:

Aside from fitting into the new layout, there have been no changes to ads. I'm not sure what your comment is referring to.

See attached. Two weeks ago this list wouldn't grow beyond eight. This is why people adblock; not because they want you to fail as a service, but because they don't agree you have the right to farm your visitors out to literally dozens of third-party services, who aren't even paying you properly for the whoring you've chosen to descend to.

Untitled.png

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46 minutes ago, Wyrframe said:

Why on earth would you expect someone to look at the global navigation bar to find a search form for the forum or forum-topic they're already looking at... and then be somehow pleased that they have to pick the forum they wanted to search in again?

I think you're assuming we set to launch the perfect setup. That, we did not do. We did intend to launch something better than had previously existed and to do so in a timely manner since our old setup was cracking. I'll refer to my comment that there is still plenty to fix. Point noted though: search isn't accessible enough, and the existing search needs work.

46 minutes ago, Wyrframe said:

See attached. Two weeks ago this list wouldn't grow beyond eight.

Interesting. We've actually dropped a few things in the upgrade. For full disclosure, this is what we do (can confirm by looking at the downloaded javascript):

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Adsense
  • Google Publisher Tags (used by some of our direct campaigns)
  • Google Safeframe (for ad frames to prevent malicious JS)
  • Amazon CPM
  • Amazon Recommendations
  • Skimlinks (under evaluation)
  • Affiliate programs (ads directly served by us to affiliate links)
  • GDNet+ Member Ads (approved by us)

I'll put this on a page sometime soon because we're not trying to hide anything, and in the interest of recognizing our community's concerns with online advertising we don't do nearly as much with advertising as we could or get even close to what 95% of the rest of the world does.

I don't know where all those tags are coming from, but it's not GameDev.net. I would guess that it's coming through some of the ads themselves, and I recognize a few of them as ad networks or ad services, which all will use things like Adsense and Amazon.

So, I recognize you think this upgrade is the worst thing since Duke Nukem Forever and that we've totally gone rogue, and while with the upgrade all we can do is try to address member concerns with the site and provide a solid platform for the community, and even that might not be good enough, I can at least assure you that we haven't gone rogue with advertising. It's been very tempting at times, but we haven't sold out like so many others.

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On 6/19/2017 at 8:24 AM, khawk said:

You can get this by setting up your own Activity Stream (Activity -> My Activity Streams -> Create New Stream.

Is it possible to create a stream which contains all forum threads in a given sub-set of forums?

E.g. create a stream that contains all threads/posts that appear in only the AI + Math & Physics forums.

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I can only imagine that this has been answered somewhere already, but it sort of looks like some people's usernames have recently reverted to names they had a long time ago. Is that related to the upgrade, or just coincidence?

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24 minutes ago, Lactose said:

Is it possible to create a stream which contains all forum threads in a given sub-set of forums?

E.g. create a stream that contains all threads/posts that appear in only the AI + Math & Physics forums.

Not yet, but that is a good evolution for future development.

42 minutes ago, cowsarenotevil said:

I can only imagine that this has been answered somewhere already, but it sort of looks like some people's usernames have recently reverted to names they had a long time ago. Is that related to the upgrade, or just coincidence?

It's an artifact of the new system. Display names and login names were merged in the new software. You can still change your name under the Profiler menu -> Account Settings.

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search.thumb.png.aaf5ee6ca4cad67af5c7a9922908f50b.png

 

Here's my search screen. Can you even see what I typed into the search field?

When people say that this upgrade is okay, or even that it's 'rough edges', I can't help but think where have the standards gone to. It's like the basic features have not even been tested.

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6 hours ago, khawk said:

I recognize you think this upgrade is the worst thing since Duke Nukem Forever and that we've totally gone rogue,

I thought the transition to IP.Board back in 2010 was far more jarring.  That also came with the site being down for a week instead of this with part of a day.

This update is painful mostly because the visual style is so different, but the functionality is basically the same as the last. Thankfully I can slowly rebuild my Stylish scripts to fix all the whitespace issues that annoy me so much.  My original concern from moving from the old version (pre-2010) remains, I dislike the default content density.  Way back then I could see five comments at once, more or less.  Now it is down to about 2.5 comments on screen at once. For longer replies sometimes it is difficult to read the comment I'm replying to while writing a response.  Slowly but surely I'll update my Stylish script to wipe out those huge margins, borders, and padding boxes. ;)

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1 hour ago, ddengster said:

Here's my search screen. Can you even see what I typed into the search field?

Fair enough. A fix was pushed for this about 6 hours ago. I'll check it.

[Edit: The formatting for the Search and Activity Stream creation pages has been fixed.]

19 hours ago, ddengster said:

- Old articles are broken.

We are working on this. Not all articles could be properly converted without manual effort in the new system. These articles have been formatted for 6 different systems over 18 years, and in some cases we don't know the original formatting. We also brought back old articles that weren't publicly in the system. Complex problem, time constraints, not enough resources. We did the best we could with what we had. I'm glad you reported the articles - it's faster than going through thousands on our own.

[Edit: The formatting for these two articles has been fixed.]

19 hours ago, ddengster said:

So now I need to set up an activity list? I'd rather the older option where the forum topics are bumped up upon a post. The live feed was what I'd consider a majorly interesting part of the site.

We thought you'd like the ability to customize GameDev.net for the things you want to see. We understand not everyone will appreciate this.

Edit: I also recommend the Unread Content page, which has a little different filtering availability, including something a little closer to what you want. I personally haven't used it much and forgot about it, as I prefer the Activity Stream.

19 hours ago, ddengster said:

Over the past several updates gamedev.net has been getting more and more bloated. Design has also taken a turn for the worse. For example, when I'm reading a forum post I don't have a need to see Game Job's or Ads at the right side of the post. It makes information harder and harder to read and to find. Color contrast looks really bad imo, light grays and whites.

We'll have a dark theme available in the future. That may suit you better.

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On 6/20/2017 at 3:13 AM, ddengster said:

- Old articles are broken.

While not perfect due to different formatting styles that have evolved over time, the article content has been fixed. I'll admit I didn't check all 4000+ articles, but a heavy sample of articles showed good results. Most articles have proper formatting with some needing a little clean up for readability.

Everyone's blogs have been updated as well, since quite a few lost content during the conversion. Again, heavy sampling but always possible a few didn't convert correctly.

"Smart quotes" were the issue. Lots and lots of character encoding issues from copy and paste.

If anyone sees further problems we can handle them on a case-by-case basis at https://www.gamedev.net/support.

 

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One thing I'd like to see is more obvious call-out of "read" versus "not read" -- the blue filled/unfilled little icon on the left isn't quite punchy enough.

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29 minutes ago, hplus0603 said:

One thing I'd like to see is more obvious call-out of "read" versus "not read" -- the blue filled/unfilled little icon on the left isn't quite punchy enough.

I agree; and I'm not quite sure why some posts have a yellow tinge and others don't. I initially thought it was to indicate posts I haven't read yet, but that doesn't seem to hold true, because if I scroll up in this very thread there's a post by frob that I definitely have read (since the ones below it are white) but its still yellow. As is your post I am quoting now (is it based on user rep? over 10k maybe?)

Similarly, I feel like pinned and featured topics are very understated. Both states just seem to be little icons in the title, and forcing the topic to the top of the forum list. But they don't do a whole lot to make them stand out, and I think they should. Maybe force the title to be bold, or use a special background for the post listing.

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My question is... I noticed the pictures that were attached to older blog entries are no longer visible.  Is this a permanent thing affecting all blog entries prior to the update?  Would I need to go through and re-attach them?  It was nice seeing the visual history of my project.

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6 minutes ago, Awoken said:

My question is... I noticed the pictures that were attached to older blog entries are no longer visible.  Is this a permanent thing affecting all blog entries prior to the update?  Would I need to go through and re-attach them?  It was nice seeing the visual history of my project.

Interesting. I knew some didn't convert attachments but yours really failed to convert.

You could go back and re-attach them if you wanted, but they're still around. Just need the conversion to work properly. I can look at it in the near future (need to finish other things).

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1 minute ago, khawk said:

Interesting. I knew some didn't convert attachments but yours really failed to convert.

You could go back and re-attach them if you wanted, but they're still around. Just need the conversion to work properly. I can look at it in the near future (need to finish other things).

Thanks, some of those photos I no longer have.

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How can I find out what the number on the hamburger menu icon means?

In my case it says 3, I assume that there are 3 updates on forum topics I'm in/following, but how do I find which ones?

Also I was wondering where I can find "my messages" (inbox etc).

btw, I'm on mobile currently, so maybe it differs on desktop.

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