ID:106285
 
Keywords: software, website
Happy holidays!

In the interest of greater transparency and interaction between us, the BYOND developers, and you, the BYOND community, here is a preview of some of our current projects. We will attempt to make these updates and public testing of new features a regular thing as we enter this new year and b(e)yond. Please provide feedback!

None of this is possible without the continual support of BYOND Members. Many thanks to those of you who've contributed over the years. For those that haven't, bah humbug! But seriously, if the software has any value to you, please consider joining up. While Membership adds a few side perks, its main purpose is keeping this project alive.


Site changes

Website changes are typically the most polarizing because everyone has their own personal aesthetic. That said, we have received a lot of negative feedback over the current site and are attempting to correct it by moving to a more mainstream layout and color scheme. These changes are not set in stone (I personally would like to add more color to glitz it up), but hopefully you can see the general idea.

The biggest changes to the new site are actually functional ones:

  • Hub entries (games and resources) are organized by tags instead of categories/guilds.
  • Good original games are bumped in the listings through a special "featured" designation. To promote originality, fan-based games cannot be featured, but they can be listed.
  • To cull out the "rip" problem plaguing BYOND, only Members are allowed to submit their hub entries for search & listing, and those in turn must be approved.
  • Developer content is aggregated from both the public blog posts and submitted hubs, greatly increasing the activity and usability of "developer central".
  • The site engine is optimized to improve search and caching; hopefully this should allow for greater scalability and alleviate the site downtimes.

We'll provide more details as we work through the release process. Note that we are NOT eliminating long-time site elements such as sites, guilds, hub entries, or fangames! We are simply refactoring how these are used.


Web pager

We began development of a web-based pager program over a year ago, but ultimately halted the project due to various browser issues. Fortunately, technology moves quickly and modern browsers no longer have these problems. The idea is to be able to easily locate and track games and friends from the site and to merge much of the functionality currently shared between the software and site. For instance, we currently provide half a dozen different ways for two users to communicate, but none as obvious as a "personal message". With this development, you'll be able to initiate conversations through the site, and the interface will be identical to the software pager since they will use a common browser window.

The prototype above is nowhere near completion as it is quite outdated. The final version will be smaller, cleaner, and more streamlined. It will essentially replace the "home" page of the current site.


Flash client

Our most exciting development is a port of the BYOND client to Flash. This has a lot of potential, from the obvious of an easier "click & play" experience to integration with Facebook and other social networks.

We chose Flash because it is ubiquitous and most stable of the various platforms. While HTML 5 is most likely the future, the networking support isn't available enough to warrant the investment at this time. However, since a large part of the work is server-side, we should be able to re-port to other systems as they become more mainstream. BYOND on an iPad!

At this point in time, we have the map and basic i/o working. Both DreamSeeker and the Flash client can connect to the same server... pretty neat stuff! Once this is more refined, we'll put it into public beta. For the first iteration at least, we'll require existing games to use a simplified (possibly pre-defined) Flash interface to work. Whether we shoot for 100% skin compatibility or a different, map-based system is an open question.


We'd like to get all of these projects at least into a public testing state within the next few months. It is difficult to give a concrete timeline as we try to give priority to bug reports (which can often take days or even weeks to resolve) while also not ignoring user-requests (which admittedly have gotten lost in the shuffle... we'll do our best to give better feedback on those). With the aforementioned goal of greater transparency, we can at least promise to do a better job keeping you updated. We can definitely surpass the three blog posts (this inclusive) from 2010, sheesh!

Wow, the flash client came as a surprise, and is pretty interesting. Means anyone who doesn't want to download the BYOND software wouldn't have to now.
It's nice to finally have some of the fog lifted from the Flash client. I've been following the site changes on the dev version of the site and I love it. You're doing amazing work, guys. Surely going to make a turning point in BYOND's life. Hopefully it will get BYOND more mainstream attention.
Is anyone else...slightly worried by this?

"BYOND on an iPad!"

for that to happen, BYOND would have to go through Apple, and Apple has a very bad rep for destorying their apps before they let them into their store...I don't want BYOND to become a sellout ._.'
amazingz
I personally like the new layout scheme. What I'm most fond of is those awesome looking member-less blogs. Too bad I won't have one for 4 years and 323 days.

I'm not too sure what to make of this flash client, but best of luck with it.
Oh sounds excellent.
Very nice update. Thanks for filling us in.

As for feedback on the new web design, I know the layout probably isn't set in stone but i'll comment anyway.

Does the large BYOND: Free Download button remind anyone else of sites that "require" you download a .exe to play their games and then you're hit with more trojans than you know what to do with.

My suggestion is to tone that button down a little bit, make it noticeable but at the same time new members shouldn't think you're drawing them to this website to download this file that might be a virus.
I doubt this would get mainstream attention, but its a possibility it could help BYOND get the attention it needs.
Kalzar wrote:
Very nice update. Thanks for filling us in.

As for feedback on the new web design, I know the layout probably isn't set in stone but i'll comment anyway.

Does the large BYOND: Free Download button remind anyone else of sites that "require" you download a .exe to play their games and then you're hit with more trojans than you know what to do with.

My suggestion is to tone that button down a little bit, make it noticeable but at the same time new members shouldn't think you're drawing them to this website to download this file that might be a virus.

I actually second this.
The more I look at it, the more it reminds me of viral sites. Maybe make it a size smaller?
Good update! I hope we can expect a this level of communication and transparency in the future, too.

About the new website: I think the white toolbar on top (first two screens) should match the width of the section below it... if that makes sense.
Very exciting, and I'm glad ya'll'r sharing nowadays. ;)
Kumorii wrote:
I actually second this.
The more I look at it, the more it reminds me of viral sites. Maybe make it a size smaller?

Yeah, well there's also a [Learn more] button right below that if they have any suspicions of it being some kind of malware. I highly doubt anybody's going to avoid this site simply because of the download button. I think it looks fine.
Also, I somehow missed it, but this change sounds like a bad idea to me:

"To cull out the "rip" problem plaguing BYOND, only Members are allowed to submit their hub entries for search & listing, and those in turn must be approved."

Why prevent someone from creating a hub for his game? Even if it's a rip, why does it pose a problem? The reason people complain about rips is because they grossly outnumber "non-rip" games. Censoring them doesn't solve this problem, it's simply hiding it. And anyways, can you devote enough time to go through all hub submissions at a satisfying rate?

The status of rips on BYOND should also be reconsidered. People who own and enjoy rips form a significant population of BYOND. I don't think there's a good reason to hurt this part of our community. Many of our notable members were playing rips when they first joined.

I propose instead using a variant of the old published/unpublished system. Everyone is free to create their own hub, but a game needs to be reviewed in order to be "published" (perhaps you could have a "published" tag, or a "show only published games" option in search). There was nothing wrong with the old system, the reason it didn't work was because not enough resources were devoted to filtering published/unpublished games.

Alternatively, how about a "deviate" system? Games which are confirmed to be unauthorized, obvious rips of another game can simply not appear in the search, but in a "deviates" section under the original game's hub.
Nice.
Galactic Soldier wrote:
Yeah, well there's also a [Learn more] button right below that if they have any suspicions of it being some kind of malware. I highly doubt anybody's going to avoid this site simply because of the download button. I think it looks fine.

Yeah. There are much more terrifying things that will scare users away. Like this for example.
Toadfish wrote:
I propose instead using a variant of the old published/unpublished system.

YES YES YES PLEASE BRING BACK UNPUBLISHED I BEG YOU FOR THE LOVE OF TOMATO JUICE BRING IT BACK AND SAVE BYOND
Toadfish wrote:
...

I agree, I think that it could hurt BYOND's income, my suggestion would be to cast those games off to a different section in the website, and unmentioned to those who do not wish to be associated.
@Empirez, I'm never quite sure whether you're sarcastic. Was there a problem with the old published/unpublished system or do you support bringing it back? Hopefully you'll not try to troll me but type your actual opinion.
Galactic Soldier wrote:
Toadfish wrote:
...

I agree, I think that it could hurt BYOND's income, my suggestion would be to cast those games off to a different section in the website, and unmentioned to those who do not wish to be associated.

They just simply need to be put in Unpublished. When I could scroll through the Live Games list in 05 and see good games like Proelium, Trinity Ranch and Castle and not have to be bothered with dozens of useless ripped content, I enjoyed BYOND much more. Why in hell was it taken off in the first place?

BYOND in 05

Please bring that huge blue question mark back.
Page: 1 2 3 ... 5 6 7