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TheArtifex

Feedback request: Sanctus Legacy Online's end-user website

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H'okay, folks: back for more action. Yes, we're still farther away from a spot on the "Teams That Can" list than any of us like to admit, but we're still moving full steam ahead, and picking up a lot of very interested people along the way: not as team members, but as stragglers who like to call themselves "fans" of the currently non-existent game. Curious, eh? Well, anyway: our current website is very much geared towards the development side of things: as aesthetically pleasing as it may or may not be. Sure, there's some brief information about the game, a map... some information on the guilds... but the majority of the information has to do with the team, the project, and how interested talents can apply to the team. Needless to say: this wasn't built with the end-user (whatever you choose to call them: "fans", "gamers", "customers"...) in mind. We need a site where we can put game features, a screenshot gallery, a community forum... Well, it's high time we at least started at least thinking about an end-user site, especially since we'd like to start opening internal and private alpha testing sometime in the relatively near future, and I'm beginning to develop it over at: http://www.sanctuslegacy.com/web8_8/ I really would appreciate as much input as a I can glean from you guys: critiques and concerns just as much so (if not more than) applause or "looks good". We have a discussion thread on the dev. forums, as well, but I really want this website to be built with the end-user (who, potentially, is you) in mind, as well, and many of you don't have accounts on our dev forums. (Shame on you! Go get one!) With that in mind, please throw me whatever critiques you may have. Please keep in mind that these are still WIP captures, incomplete templates, and things that are very early in the development phase. Currently, I've spent no more than three hours, total, on this website, and I'm still very open to change. But don't let the "under construction" feel of what you're seeing make you think to simply hold off on the input: the earlier you get a jab in, the better. Thanks in advance for your always-reliable input and critique!

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Concerning the "splash" page, an excerpt from our dev. forum's discussion thread:

Quote:
Use Your Imagination:
Imagine that that purple image (the big one: 750x300) is flash. It runs a short cinematic, then starts scrolling through descriptions of what all there is to do on the website, as well as some of the latest events.

Apologetics:
1) I do not support meaningless splash pages. If the page isn't worth seeing, it shouldn't exist.

A1) This "splash" page is not something that people just skip over. It is a directory, not an intro. An intro is something that's cool once, but then remains annoying to repeat visitors. This intro will not be about being "flashy"- it will be a Flash-formatted method of presenting valuable content.

2) I do not support all-Flash sites.

A2) This isn't all-Flash, and it's only one page.

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So far so good! The homepage sets a very "pro" tone right from the start. On the whole, great use of color on the different pages. I like the logo overlay on the section banners. Really adds a lot of texture and interest, and doesn't immediately register as "the logo."

It would be kinda cool if the homepage had more of a portal feel to it. More of a pain to implement, perhaps, but it would be cool if the front page included like, the latest news blurb, screenshot/fanart of the week, a Did_You_Know? blurb about the game story or gameplay, stuff like that. With a "read more" link to the given section. Something that compels someone to dig deeper into a particular section.

One thing I see in a lot of pro game sites are cool little details in the design that submerse the web experience deeper into the game story. This site has some good examples of this. The gilded frilly stuff above and below the menu on the left. The dingbats on either side of the section headers. The dropcaps that start a section of text. The gilding around the screenshots. All of these design elements combine to create a mood that backs up the game experience, and in turn literally helps sell the game. It makes you think the game will be awesome. But it's also a hassle to produce all these sorts of details on an ongoing basis. So there's a tradeoff.

Just some thoughts. Great-looking site!

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