A Modest Proposal...

General Stuff about Armagetron, That doesn't belong anywhere else...
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KamP
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A Modest Proposal...

Post by KamP » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:23 am

You have to expect from a title like that, nothing is going to be modest about it. Anyway, I've been thinking about Arma lately, and the site in particular. Right now, the Arma site is borderline derelict, and rarely updated, with good reason. Frankly, guru3 and the other devs have more than enough on their plate without having to worry about maintaining the website. That said, I have a few ideas of steps that can be taken to revitalize the site and (possibly) create some much needed publicity for Arma.

Some assumptions: I've identified three parts of Armagetronad.net that are really visible, and are (hopefully) used regularly. The main site (armagetronad.net), the wiki (wiki.armagetronad.net), and the forums (forums.armagetronad.net).

Step 1. One Fresh Clean Design
The site as it currently stands is not good to look at, and even this design is inconsistent around the site. On each page, the colors change, the fonts change, the backgrounds change. It might not seem like it, but it's confusing, and it's not very usable for a first time viewer.

As such, the first step is to create one, and just one, design for every generally public part of the site. A set style guide for fonts, colors, and (as the medium allows) layout. This design would be readable, accessible, and compatible. What I mean by readable is a better organization of information, in clear fonts that contrast well from the page. Accessible means that it can be easily read by people with low vision, or some other kind of browser. Compatible means that it will likely have to work all the way back to IE6 (not a problem of the current site) since many AAd users download it from schools and work.

The design should be simple. Simple enough that we can make very similar designs work from the main page, to the wiki, and to the forums. What does this entail? Probably, a lot of whitespace. No more graphical backgrounds. Less graphics in general, though an attractive header would be good (it is still a game, after all). Armagetron is a simple game to learn and play, and its site should be similarly simple to use and learn from.

Step 2. Spring Cleaning
This can be done at the same time as a new design is being implemented. Basically, I'm just calling for a cleaning out of the AAd sites. The wiki is a mess, and I think two of us are going to be working on that. Adding new information about our newer game modes is important, and compguygene seems to have ideas on what info should be a part of the wiki.

The forums are likewise a mess. Half of the forums and subforums are completely dead. They need to be consolidated or deleted, depending on the situation. At a glance, the general (non-Arma) forum needs to be retired. So do the server forums. In Support, the subforums could probably be consolidated into the main Support forum. The Add-ons forums could probably all be consolidated.

Step 3. Creating a Presence
Here, I propose that we make one more subdomain. A blog would be a welcome addition to AAd, perhaps at blog.armagetronad.net. The blog does not only need to pertain to Arma news, either. Off the top of my head, we could write articles about server reviews, interviews with devs and prominent community members (like those running Ladle teams and the like), and press news. PlayFortress writers can write on the official AAd site instead of some Wordpress blog about upcoming tournament news.

Along with creating a blog to communicate the goings-on of the AAd community, we can expand that with the various social platforms that exist now. Facebook is about to change the way pages interact with people on their network. We can use that to create a way for AAd users to feel more a part of a community. Twitter is another place where AAd can create a presence and expand.

Step 4. Creating More Media
This is probably the hardest part, at least hardest for me. Creating more media is something we've been jawing about, in particular, tutorial videos. There's a thread for this already, but we can make more media than just tutorial video. It's the Internet, we have a chance at making viral videos, showing people playing Arma, enjoying themselves. Creating videos of the different ways we enjoy Arma, like writing on the grid, roulette, CTF, bubbles, shooting, fortress, and racing and then publicizing these would generate interest.

Step 5. Letting People Know
This is probably the easiest step, and definitely the last. When everything else is finished, and we've created an image, then all that's left is letting people know. For those of us that already play, Armagetron Advanced speaks for itself. We need to let people know when a new release comes out, or when a new video is created. Who do we let know? Game sites, casual game sites, Linux game sites, free game sites, anyone with a blog and an audience.

I've been getting google alerts on “armagetron” and “armagetron advanced” for a few weeks now. I only get updates from PlayFortress and Aad.net. No one out there is talking about Armagetron, and that's a shame, since you know, and I know, that Arma is a great, fun game. Like Go, it's simple to learn, difficult to master.

So is there a timeline on any of this? No, probably not. Personally, I think that Arma should have a revamped image in time for the time when 0.3.x becomes the main branch of arma, and 0.2.x is left behind. Who's going to do this? Me, as far as I can. (which is pretty far, actually, I'm unemployed and between schools) but there hopefully will be a group of people that will step up and work on this with me. A web/evangelist/street team to complement the dev team.

So, what are your thoughts and ideas, or are you (hopefully) volunteering?

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Post by Lucifer » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:32 am

I completely support eating people.
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Post by sinewav » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:37 am

KamP, you're a little late buddy. Sorry! Read the following thread and get up to date: http://forums.armagetronad.net/viewtopic.php?t=19054

We've already discussed most of this rather throughly there. If after reading that you still feel like something needs to be covered, then post away.

:)

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Post by KamP » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:39 am

sinewav wrote:KamP, you're a little late buddy. Sorry! Read the following thread and get up to date: http://forums.armagetronad.net/viewtopic.php?t=19054

We've already discussed most of this rather throughly there. If after reading that you still feel like something needs to be covered, then post away.

:)
yea I read through that one. Seemed like it was meandering. I wanted to show a plan. I can provide more details on each step, if you'd like.

Lucifer: I KNEW I got it from somewhere. Couldn't remember where.

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Post by 2020 » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:49 pm

Well done, Kamp.

I have been thinking that with so much going on, someone is bound to try to bind it together in some kind of stable form, and i believe you have attempted to do this. You are not coming up with anything new, per se, as most are variations of what is actually going on now. ;) sine.

I believe that the procedure on how we do this can be more open than you are suggesting. For example, an AA blog is a good idea, but conc has been at it for a few months and he's got something rather nice going, so why bugger about with that? I have only returned to this forum because of talk around rules for the ladle, and my contribution has been to redirect our discussion to another tool to assist us, the deliberatorium, http://franc2.mit.edu:8000/ci/invite?KC ... RIT1IiKQ**. And a podcast is underway too (search for playing fortress on itunes, or find it herehttp://davidpinto.org/tron+.html). Things seem to have moved on precisely because people are creating regardless of approval by the powers that be. I believe the results speak for themselves.

With my experience of open source efforts in the real world not based on a particular piece of software, it's about using the services out there rather than starting from scratch. I think we should adopt twitter (I am @happyseaurchin), for example. I know most peeps use irc, which is good, but there is a lot of gravity there just like this forum wrt developers. We need to move as fast as we can, and to do that, we need to be as light as we can be. As a player, I am free from the strictures of code, and the further away I am from the the thinking that is associated with writing code, the better for some things :)

I agree with your intention and your plans. But I think it is a matter of timing. My suggestion is, we do whatever it takes to get the tronic bowl happening. If we manifest that, I believe we are in a position to take this game to a higher level. As a consequence, we might want to redesign everything and tidy it all up as you say. I suggest going along Conc's path which is to create an alternative straight-to-fortress-entry mashup. We have a bike design competition, a new fortress lay-out, and hopefully we can fiddle with the front-end of arma. I've updated http://prezi.com/12144/. Let's make it happen, then restructure this entire thing if that is what is needed. Let's get the real thing happening first, 32 teams for the tronic bowl.

I believe we are at the beginning, like at the launch. We can all go our separate ways, or, we can grind centre and accelerate. I scooted ahead last round, by myself, a few years ago, and a few people were willing to play. The only reason I am doing this now, is because of Concord. I think he is point on this one. If we get the tronic bowl, that will be the end of the round, and we can shuffle our positions then, as it were.

Grind, baby, grind!
Last edited by 2020 on Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
hold the line

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Post by -=VcL.Rajinn » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:55 pm

I'll be happy to help with the design. I design sites on the side, so I could help out.
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Post by KamP » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:28 pm

@2020:
I see what Concord is doing over there at playfortress, and I think it's pretty great. All the same, Fortress isn't the be all-end all of Armagetron, and I'd personally rather see one blog for the project and community at large. Free-for-all is still the most popular game mode in Armagetron.

One of the problems with playfortress is that it isn't directly on the Arma site, at something like blog.armagetronad.net. And it loses a lot of traction from that.

Anyway, I agree. Re: the blog, there's no point in doing the same thing twice, so I was hoping Concord and the fortress-loving community would work on contributing to one central blog for the Arma community.

Also, i'm @cpayan on Twitter :D

@Rogue:
We'll talk, yea?

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Post by epsy » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:46 pm

Actually, I had most of this in mind.

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Lucifer
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Post by Lucifer » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:40 am

I wouldn't mind at all if we hosted armagetron player/developer blogs. I'd even post from time to time.

Or better yet, if we hosted a feed, and people who wanted to have arma blogs could just have them wherever they want, and we'd keep a feed to all of them.
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Post by KamP » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:59 am

Lucifer wrote:I wouldn't mind at all if we hosted armagetron player/developer blogs. I'd even post from time to time.

Or better yet, if we hosted a feed, and people who wanted to have arma blogs could just have them wherever they want, and we'd keep a feed to all of them.
I was thinking more like one blog, multiple authors. All the devs would be authors, as well as the web team that I'm hoping to spur on.

It'd be simpler, both to implement, and to read; everyone can get arma news, tips, tricks, and other features (like server reviews or 2020's interviews) from one place, one feed.

Also, name jangling in my head for blog: The Core Dump.

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Post by Lucifer » Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:05 am

Yeah, only thing is, there's not only Concord's blog to think about, but people might want their own blogs for other things. I was thinking more like aggregating other people's blogs, maybe also providing our own, and snagging all that are marked "armagetron". So we'd still have the central feed, and maybe even hosting for people who can't find it, but people would be at their own place and comfort level.

I was also thinking that I personally would rather write on my own website as well and have an arma site pick up the feed. (After I implemented the feed, of course)
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Post by KamP » Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:19 am

Lucifer wrote: but people might want their own blogs for other things.
They can make those blogs wherever they choose.

The idea isn't to aggregate news, it's to be the bearer of news. A blog.armagetronad.net needs to be one blog, solely focused on arma: the project in the way people use it.

That said, I wouldn't intend for the blog to be closed off. Anyone could contribute. I'm just wary of (a) quality control, and (b) content control. With your model, eventually, we'd wind up with large amounts of repetition, and most likely, little control over what comes up on the blog, which is the exact opposite of the desired effect.

That's not to say there's no place for an aggregation of all things tron. Using the #armagetron hashtag in twitter, taking in rss feeds from other blogs, and maybe some other sources, we can create a lifestream of sorts for armagetron, tracking the people talking about it around the web.

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Post by 2020 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:03 pm

like the title
the core dump
hold the line

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Post by Tank Program » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:30 pm

Truly, this has the same ring to it as eating babies.

Really wanted to say that. Step 1: that's actually a bit difficult. Step 2: I refuse to delete stuff from the forums, I may reorganize some, but only spam gets the ax. Step 3: a blog isn't a bad idea. PlayFortress is great, but we shouldn't abduct them from doing what they enjoy. Otherwise, presence is created by force of community. That's how the forums started. I wanted more tron players so I started up. How come there aren't any decent 3rd party sites about Armagetron that aren't clan related? I only know about armagetronad.de and armagetron.co.uk. Step 4: community. Step 5: community.

I think the main reason why people feel a bit disappointed with the site, forums, and wiki, is because quite oddly, the armagetron community mostly consists of normal people. It feels like everyone is expecting management best practice lately, but all they got was this lousy game.

There's nothing to stop anyone from contributing. That's the nature of open source. Feel free to be putting up designs, but I certainly don't have the design skill to create a new style, that's why every page on the main site and forum has one player, and only one players name on it. If it wasn't for him, we'd all be looking at subSilver and some awful looking clone of the original armagetron site.
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Post by sinewav » Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:14 pm

Tank Program wrote:How come there aren't any decent 3rd party sites about Armagetron that aren't clan related?
I've been biting my tongue on this, but when apparition started ranting about this stuff a few weeks ago I thought "well, just make another Arma site then."

Personally, I like the way the current website looks. I've never had a problem with the wiki. I sometimes have a rough time using the forums, but I attribute that to my laziness to learn how to search effectively.

And I've never felt like I was missing out on something. Maybe I'm the minority on this.

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