The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Discuss anything ZDoom-related that doesn't fall into one of the other categories.

Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby wildweasel » Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:55 pm

Tormentor667 wrote:Okay then, I hope people won't kill me for this. It's far from being finished, especially when it comes to content, but it might already give you an idea where this might lead to. The graphics aren't optimized yet just in case someone tells me that the siteload is too heavy atm - this will be the final step.

Looking forward to your feedback...
http://dyndns.dg-media.com:2001/www/kunden/zdoom/


It is definitely, visually, very attractive. What most concerns me, though, is that the initial page load is over a megabyte, and subsequent page loads are a few hundred kilobytes each. The front page of the forum, on the other hand, clocks to about 63 KB, and the current ZDoom.org main site a mere 15 KB. They load up lightning-fast and present no significant delay in getting the user the information they need as soon as it is available. Meanwhile, this new design takes several seconds before it becomes usable, since the loading of images and effects causes the page to scroll around and all the text to shift about until everything's loaded (about 10 seconds later, and I should stress I'm on a 25 megabit-per-second connection not far from a major city).
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby ZZYZX » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:03 pm

That page is quite beautiful actually.
As for the load times, it might be because it's hosted on a free hosting service or smth. Not sure.
Loaded under a second for my 100mbit, and if it's 1mb then it should load under a second with your 25mbit as well, and only start to lag for people who get less than 10mbit.
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby Accensus » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:13 pm

Tormentor667 wrote:The graphics aren't optimized yet just in case someone tells me that the siteload is too heavy atm - this will be the final step.
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby Caligari87 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:06 pm

A one-meg page is pretty damn big for a lot of people, ZZYZX. Not everyone has 25Mb+ connections (even in a first-world country like the US) and many users browse on their phones where data plans and memory loads are a much bigger concern. It definitely takes almost ten seconds to be ready on my system.

If it's not stepping on any toes, I may take this core visual concept and mock up a more static page, HTML+CSS only.

8-)
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby Rachael » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:15 pm

Personally I am still really iffy about it. Bandwidth *IS* a huge concern here. #1) The site is metered. #2) Most of the userbase is from US/AU, both countries have ISP's which absolutely adore sticking meters on your internet usage, including for non-mobile usage - and for no real reason except a justification to charge an outrageous overage fee at the end of the month.
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby Nash » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:28 am

Tormentor667 wrote:Okay then, I hope people won't kill me for this. It's far from being finished, especially when it comes to content, but it might already give you an idea where this might lead to. The graphics aren't optimized yet just in case someone tells me that the siteload is too heavy atm - this will be the final step.

Looking forward to your feedback...
http://dyndns.dg-media.com:2001/www/kunden/zdoom/

What is the plan?
The goals that this site should achieve is
  • introducing newcomers to the whole mods
  • being a good informative base on the features and the background
  • showcasing a few or more mods so people get an idea what the port can do
  • serving as quick landing page for reaching all the important places with little effort
  • having a news/blog area where most notable releases will appear

Actually an improved version of what we have now, except that it's more focused on "presentation" and "instrumental marketing". It is not supposed to be a new doom news portal, the mods don't need to be updated every week, it's just meant as a showcase (for those who fear a lot of work keeping it up to date, the only thing that needs maintainance is the news area, everything else is easy and optional)


A couple of things...

1) Looks nice and modern, but TBH I'm not really sure if the stock screenshots should have post processing or not. Texture filtering is already off so it looks retro, SSAO is okay (because Minecraft has some kind of AO built-in too) but I'm not too sure about bloom and lens distortion. Here's the problem - I don't think anyone can agree on WHAT is okay - while still retaining the retro look - and what's not. XD BUT if all post processing is turned off, you lose that "modern vibe" which I understand was the goal all along - to attract new/young players...

2) Yeah IMO the site is a little too image-heavy and too BoA-like currently. It's not BAD - it definitely looks cool, but it just looks too BoA-ey, like it came from a template or something. :D I understand the images aren't optimized right now so I won't comment on that. But optimized or not - I think right now it's just a little too visually noisy. Of course, just IMHO and take it with a whole bottle of salt because I am a guy who likes minimalistic, non-skeuomorphic, flat Apple/Win10 shit XD

Other than that, it looks good to my eyes! I'm curious to see where it will go, design-wise and optimization-wise.
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby dpJudas » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:40 am

I like this proposal, except that I'd recommend zooming it all out 20% (one zoom tick in the browser). I have to maximize my browser window on this 24" monitor to otherwise fully see just the two first bars (carousel and "it's your choice").

I'd probably also consider changing the screenshot modal popup to use a darker backdrop (some other background color for .uk-modal, like rgba(36, 38, 41, 0.8) or something) along with the transition effect when switching between screenshot images.
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby Death Egg » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:37 am

I'm on my phone so I could only look at the mobile version, but it looked really good. I hope this whole Joomla issue is sorted, having that as a front page instead of the bland design there currently is would be a huge improvement, and probably help some people stick around a bit to check the port out.
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby Gez » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:55 am

Parts of the mockup site are non-functioning if someone visits with JavaScript disabled.
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby Rachael » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:39 am

I guess I get the unfortunate privilege of being "the one." Yay.

After a number of talks with different people - both friends, as well as those who visit this site, it is clear to me that the issues right now currently outweigh the benefits.

1) Biggest issue (admittedly, this is on my part, but people tend to agree with me) - is Joomla.
2) Bandwidth - yes I know your images are not yet optimized. Even if they are, best case scenario we can expect an improvement of possibly up to 60-70%. 300kb vs 15kb - and that is if all optimizations go well - which in practice they don't - still feels like too much.
3) Speed - this is huge. I suspect part of it is your server - it may be churning too much of a load, that's fine. It still should not take 10 seconds to load the site. This is a high traffic site - it WILL receive a lot of hits - if a site like this bogs down the server, I want no part of installing it.
4) Noscript Compatibility - Sorry, this is a must. Scripted elements need to be rendered with static HTML. They can be modified later with scripts, but the site needs to be fully functional without them.

Now for the non-technical issues:

5) The carousel is a bit cheesy. It wouldn't be so bad if virtually every commercial site in existence thought "hey, that's cool, let's do that!" and as a result it's on every. single. site. on. this. planet.
6) I do, admittedly, like the bars, though. Going from one "phase" of the content to another is a good design choice.
7) Punchatz's Cyberdemon - this could result in liability for myself or Randi - even though we aren't technically advertising ourselves as "HEY WE ARE THE ACTUAL DOOM!" ... there was a site very recently that hit a gray area with copyright stuff. I say it's better to be safe than sorry.
8) The boxes down at the bottom with images that lead to different sections of the site is actually very cool, also. I would say definitely keep that.

Overall - I will say this - I know you poured your heart into this. I can tell. But passion and practicality are two different things. Work with me - and I will work with you. But you can't keep trying to push Joomla on me like it's something I really want - I don't. Open up InDesign/Dreamweaver/Photoshop - do it from there without a CMS, and we'll see what we have to work with.

Remember: I already have a system that can include dynamic headers and footers for every page, and it works well. Let's try to fit that.
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby Graf Zahl » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:54 am

Since you have some good points already, here's my take on them:

Eruanna wrote:1) Biggest issue (admittedly, this is on my part, but people tend to agree with me) - is Joomla.


I'm also not a fan of this stuff. If it can be avoided, avoid it.

Eruanna wrote:2) Bandwidth - yes I know your images are not yet optimized. Even if they are, best case scenario we can expect an improvement of possibly up to 60-70%. 300kb vs 15kb - and that is if all optimizations go well - which in practice they don't - still feels like too much.


The main question here, of course is, how much of this stuff will be handled by the browser cache.

Eruanna wrote:3) Speed - this is huge. I suspect part of it is your server - it may be churning too much of a load, that's fine. It still should not take 10 seconds to load the site. This is a high traffic site - it WILL receive a lot of hits - if a site like this bogs down the server, I want no part of installing it.


For me the page load is instantaneous, even if I throttle my connection down to 4MBit/s. I guess the delays you experience are a shitty connection to the server that delays the responses to your requests, and the page loads a lot of single files - if each one takes half a second you easily end up with 10 seconds, but since this appears to be a dyndns server I wouldn't take these values as realistic. No comparison to some websites that even on my 40mbit/s connection take several seconds to fully load.

Eruanna wrote:4) Noscript Compatibility - Sorry, this is a must. Scripted elements need to be rendered with static HTML. They can be modified later with scripts, but the site needs to be fully functional without them.


Absolutely - 100% - necessary. I have zdoom.org whitelisted, but seeing the Facebook/Twitter/Youtube links in the corner, let me state that I set NoScript to the strictest possible setting for any page providing such links to prevent them from doing anything bad on my system. (I have Facebook and Twitter blacklisted for cookies anyway but cannot do that for Google because I need to use their services.) I sincerely hope we can make do without linking to such data mining sites.

Eruanna wrote:5) The carousel is a bit cheesy. It wouldn't be so bad if virtually every commercial site in existence thought "hey, that's cool, let's do that!" and as a result it's on every. single. site. on. this. planet.


That was the first thing that turned me off, especially the silly advertising blurbs on the images.

Eruanna wrote:7) Punchatz's Cyberdemon - this could result in liability for myself or Randi - even though we aren't technically advertising ourselves as "HEY WE ARE THE ACTUAL DOOM!" ... there was a site very recently that hit a gray area with it. I say it's better to be safe than sorry.


Agreed here. No copyrighted material, that cannot end well if someone wants to harm the site.
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby Death Egg » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:25 am

Oh, also, now that I've seen the site itself; the color scheme is very good, I think it fits the site much better than the current beige and maroon one. I'd love to see the forum have a theme like that style as its default. Also, the logo for the site has to be my favorite rendition so far.
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby Tormentor667 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:11 am

First of all thanks to all of you for the kind and reasonable feedback and criticism, it helps a lot to improve the site and stay focused on getting the thing done, working and looking nice. To make things a bit easier, I will respond in general to most of the things mentioned, as some replies repeat in terms of content - which isn't a bad thing :)

Progress for today
I put another 5 hours of work into the site, and this is what has changed so far
  • Landing page is done visually and in terms of content (news, projects, sourcepots -- it's all there)
  • The "News" blog is done as well, added 3 major news items from the old page as a proof of concept
  • The "About" page is mostly copy and paste. I think someone with good writing skills should improve and update the texts though (volunteers?)
  • The "Features" menue and submenues are mostly empty, I think someone else should also take care of the content for these, so people actually get it why there are three ports and what is so much better with them over the original doom2.exe (and other vanilla executables)
  • The "Screenshots" area is working so far and can be easily filled with content. All I need is screenshots, project link, title and a short description. I know that this is mostly a matter of taste but personally I prefer "clean material" (no hud, no crosshair, only map stills) but I think this is just a personal preference. When it comes to weapon/gameplay mods, we need something with a hud anyway.
  • The "Downloads" area is there but without any links. I currently have no idea how this is planned for the future, I think Eruanna and Graf Zahl need to give some feedback here before I can proceed.
  • Other than that I have improved, added and changed a lot of things towards aesthetics and usability, most of it should even run well on smartphones and tablets which is a very important thing even though people won't be able to play it, Google rates it higher.

Concerning the things mentioned
  • Joomla yes or no?!
    I do understand the points mentioned that are against Joomla as a CMS system. The benefits of Joomla though are that it is a very intuitive and actively developed system (updates are frequent, but easily installable). Next to that I own a lot of subscriptions for addons (just like Widgetkit that is used most on the site) that I can simply share and that I don't have to program from sratch. Beyond, it's the CMS that I work with everyday, so I can do all sorts of things without a lot of thinking and effort, which makes things also more benefitial for me. Yes, I am sure one can do the same thing statically with Dreamweaver, but it would be like reinventing the wheel.
  • Server load, server bandwidth, server usage
    Concerning the doubts mentioned: If the server question is something you worry about, I still volunteer to host the landing page on my server. From there linking to the forums, bugtracker and other things would be a solution as well. I am running a business shared server package that has unlimited (yes, really unlimited) traffic and a lot of other benefits, private customers don't get - well it's expensive, so I can expect that :P Though this is just a possible solution. If the site gets hosted at your host (and this also goes towards Graf Zahl's question), with Joomla (yes, another reason why I like that CMS) I can control what content of the page can be stored in the browser cache, which will also heavily decrease the server load.
  • Boom maps, vanilla maps, ...
    I agree with Eruanna here. Showing off other engine maps is definitely a good choice to show the flexibility of the engines.
  • Facebook, Twitter and other miners
    Currently these links at the top bottem right are only "proof-of-concepts". We have space for important links here that we can use. Facebook was an idea, but it's not needed. I can imagine links to the major doom sites here instead, e.g. Doomworld.
  • The cheesy carousel sliders
    It's not a must have, especially the messages have something that popped out of my mind without thinking too much. What I like about the carousel though is having 3-4 very important infos about the possibilites of the engines and the community (so actually the text is bad, the idea behind makes sense) so newcomers get a certain feeling about it. Sure, instead of the messages one could remove the text and let the images speak for themselves, but maybe we can develop something else here instead. Oh and the copyrighted material is gone.
  • It's slow and it's over 1MB
    As stated the page is currently not optimized. I will take care of that as soon as everything is done, but to be honest: Don't expect a landing page with attractive media (and that's what we want) to be about 63kb :) I will try to decrease the load times as much as possible, that's a promise though, but as Eruanna already stated right, we will end up at something of 300kb. Concerning the speed of the current server: It's on my local development server which has only an upstream of 2 MBit, this will be different as soon as it is online (also towards Eruanna's concerns of speed, currently this is definitely no benchmark!)
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby Kinsie » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:43 am

My personal thoughts:

1.) For the carousel, I think going with smaller images with no text cooked in (like the Dolphin Emulator site example) would work better for this example. If you must have the current setup, make the text smaller and more explanatory, ala the descriptive paragraphs on FS-UAE's page.

2.) For the "it's your choice" section: I'd personally remove the big ZDoom button, or make it a smaller "for historical reference" link under the other two buttons - as much as the website is named after it, it doesn't make sense for the first download option on the page to be a discontinued, obsolete version.

Another small button, for "friends and forks" might work too, for links to Zandronum, ECWolf and maybe 3DGE too, since they're living on our sofa and raiding our frige as it is. :V

3.) Since the authors and site maintainers are allergic to social media, it'd be better off to replace the links up the top with links to IdGames, DRDTeam Devbuilds and the GZDoom GitHub. It keeps the same vibe while better fitting the people running the project so far.

4.) For download links, I'd provide four links: The most recent stable version, the Github repo, the appropriate DRDTeam devbuilds page, and a folder of old versions for reference.

Because I'm bored and feel like writing, here's a possible intro paragraph for the site.

Front Page Explanation? wrote:ZDoom is a family of multi-platform source ports of the classic PC game Doom. It allows you to play the original games (and other games that used the engine) with modern creature comforts like mouse-look. In addition, it supports tens of thousands of classic mods and adds powerful new modding features, allowing players and creators to easily explore strange and exciting worlds old and new alike!
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Re: The future of ZDoom, GZDoom, and QZDoom, and this site.

Postby Tormentor667 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:35 am

Thanks for your suggestions Kinsie, this is what I did:

1) Removed the text, made the sliders smaller, for additional text I'd suggest we simply place that into the "Features" area (the way it is done on FS-UAE is very good, but I need help with proper texts)
2) Well, completely removing it or making it smaller doesn't feel right so I changed the order, putting GZDoom first, then QZDoom and then ZDoom.
2b) Added a box to the right side of "About" with links to Zandronum, 3DGE and ECWolf
3) Replaced the social media by idgames, Devbuilds and GZD GitHub
4) Concerning this, the question is also: offsite links or direct downloads? I think we should keep things easy.
4b) Added your explanation text to "About", it sounds good
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