Founded in 2003, Armchair Arcade is the award-winning Website of professional author Bill Loguidice and a team of leading authorities on videogame, computer, and technology history: Dr. Mark Vergeer, Christina Loguidice (author), and Shawn Delahunty (engineer). Their ongoing mission is to explore the complete history of videogames, computers, and technology in an intelligent, thought-provoking manner. Read all about us here. To join Armchair Arcade, use the Contact/Join button above to send us your preferred username. Armchair Arcade is also on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!
Matt Barton's picture

Top Banner Discussion

In the blog below, we were talking about the best banner for neo. Bill suggested that we use a combination of photos of vintage hardware (which we gratefully have in abundance), and images of ourselves. I'm going to ask those of us with artistic talent to begin thinking about some possible designs and eventually start coming up with drafts. I think at this point, it might be best just to send a bunch of photos and images to our artists and let them play around for awhile.

Everyone, please send some good images and photos that you'd like to see on the banner to e.bartonopoulos aT gmail.com. I'm not sure yet if we'll want to use our actual photos (perhaps p-shopped) or drawings, but try to send some very nice representative photos as well.

Matt Barton's picture

Brass Tasks of the Layout

Okay. I've been working too long on this, so let me share my thoughts now (even though they are still a bit muddled). I'm trying to get my slowly growing knowledge of theme development organized. The key theme issues that we need to settle seem to be these:

Top Banner. This is clearly the top priority in designing our layout. You can see what I'm talking about here. Clearly, we want something at least as distinctive as the banners we had at the old AA. I like the idea of having buttons on or below the banner, as in this example. If we wanted to be clever, we might have a console (like the one at the old site) whose buttons would actually be alternate navigation buttons for the site.

Matt Barton's picture

Streamlining the Interface

We've been talking here about how to streamline the comment features. Part of this problem seems to stem from the nature of blogs vs. forums. We're accustomed to talking with each other in a forum environment, and this is a bit different. Forums are typically arranged in "threads," with a leading topic and a chain of responses. Blogs are a different creature. Instead of "threads," I find it more useful to think of "comments." What's the difference? Well, imagine hearing a speaker, then hearing people go up and making comments to him about his presentation. These comments may not be related to each other; they may be connected only in that they concern the same speech.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Look and Feel of Neo

One thing that has been playing on my mind as I've been going to other Websites is that we must take great pains to make the look of the new Armchair Arcade as distinctive as possible. Blog/news sites are a dime a dozen and we must truly differentiate ourselves from them. Again, while the current Armchair Arcade is broken from a functionality standpoint, in its favor, to the outside world everything looks just about right as rain and it has a unique look that's not quite like anything else out there. We need something distinctive, bold and yes, still intuitive on Neo. I hope we all keep that in mind as we generate graphics and think about layout and content.

Matt Barton's picture

News Aggregator

BTW, I put some feeds into the news aggreggator just to try it out. I'll make some categories so we can better organize them.

Matt Barton's picture

Site Layouts and Templates for Neo

I spoke recently to Charlie Lowe, doc director for the Drupal Project, about customizing the look and layout of this site. There is a bit of confusion here because of upcoming Drupal developments. Apparently, 4.6 uses something called xtemplate engine, but the new version (4.7) will use PHPTemplate. Apparently, PHPTemplate is much more powerful and will let us do some pretty wild things, such as easily grab stuff out of the databases for use with the theme. I looked at some of these new templates, and they are definitely more visually impressive than the one we have now.

One cool thing I thought about would be creating a module that would show us all the high scores from those flash games. We could also use this tool for displaying the matrix.

AA Neo GUI Thoughts

Just was thinking about the current layout of the site and was thinking on how we could make it a bit easier to use. If we took the Recent Comments column and shifted it to the far right side, it would free up space for the Syndicate and Menu options to be on top of the left column.

The minimalism thus far of this new layout is quite nice, but coming to the main page and seeing a large list of the most recent comments is not the most inviting thing. A splash page might be nice-- I'm not talking about anything silly like having the AA mascot rap about the good old C64 days, but it would seem a bit more welcoming.

Bill Loguidice's picture

My idea for the current (old) Armchair Arcade

If it hasn't been made clear before, I'd like to reiterate and open for discussion my thinking around the current (old) Armchair Arcade Website. I don't think it makes sense to convert any of the old stuff over to the new, save for some of the advertising/partnership stuff. Otherwise, we should leave the old stuff there with a link-back, somewhat similar to what is on Neo now up top. There are simply waaay too many links from countless external sources to specific pages on the old site that we'd immediately lose if it were shut down. When the new site is activated, the old site will be "frozen" from anything new on it, but will still have a persistent banner on top that will point to this new site. Maybe after x number of years we can do a full cut-over, but I'd HATE for us to waste any energy on converting old stuff over that is perfectly fine and stable as-is. We really need to work on kicking ass on the now, new and here.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Private Discussions?

What will we use on the new Website for private AA admin discussions? Will the forums be appropriate for that, assuming we can hide them from everyone who is not part of AA? We also need a good place to store a master directory of user names and passwords for our various online stores and affiliations, since we have an open (financials) book policy here, which will not change.

Matt Barton's picture

AA Neo: The Basics

Greetings, everyone. I'd like to start a discussion here about the direction we'd like to take AA Neo and hopefully form a coherent and exciting long-term vision for Armchair Arcade. Significantly, Drupal allows us some exciting possibilities for building a new and stronger community, but also a better means of creating, sorting, and distributing the high quality articles and news postings of the old site. Let me discuss some of the changes I'm personally most exicted about proposing.

First, Bill and I have been discussing the possibility of evolving from an issue-based format (like a print magazine) to an article-based format (like most web publications). Fortunately, this doesn't have to be an either/or decision. I submit that we take the best of both worlds. We write and publish articles on a "just-in-time" strategy that attempts to (a) strike critical issues when the timing is ripe, and (b) offers enough time for the editors to tweak and revise articles. This will allow us to keep up a steady stream of new features without suffering the dreaded "bottleneck" problems of issue-length publication. However, we don't have to give up on issues--far from it. Indeed, this method will allow us to create a backlog of features that can, at regular intervals, be compiled (and revised in light of reader feedback if necessary) into a downloadable PDF magazine. The "value add" of that magazine will be (a) cover art, (b) graphical layouts, and (c) print design. In short, the content on the site will be more focused on timeliness than design; we'll make up for that in the PDF magazines. My dream is that these PDF magazines will approach the design sophistication of online mags like The Escapist.

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