View Full Version : GameTunnel Face Lift
09-14-2004, 10:51 PM
I checked out http://www.gametunnel.com for the first time in months and they updated the site a bit. I like the new site graphics and the monthly round up. I hope this is the start of many more improvments to the site.
09-14-2004, 10:59 PM
Looks good Cyrus!
09-15-2004, 05:33 AM
Thanks! It is something that I have been working on for some time, but the first piece I put up for all to see was on Saturday...
Improvements are always limited by time...and time is such a rare thing :)
I will be further tweaking the front page a bit, the hope is to have it ready for an official relaunch on Saturday. (but what does that mean really? :) )
The biggest change is that I'm incorporating a forum into the site and will be using that for news. I'd been thinking about doing that for awhile, but an email from Sigma clinched the deal...With the new forum it will force all the comments to reviews and articles to be in one place where I can have more power to moderate them (so that I don't have some moron post a warez site link to get the game :()
I'm also connecting the news section of the forum to the website, so any news story on the site will actually link you back to the forums where people will be able to chat about the stories more than has been done in the past. I'm going to launch it with my hoped for vision, which is 3 news forums, one for general news and new release info, one for game update info and another for screenshots, movies and concept art info. We'll see if they get used enough to justify my love. As much as I'd like to have enough time to browse the internet for information, I just don't have it.
Still running into a couple of visual issues that I'm unhappy with, but I may just have to let them go as I need to get back to content work, and there comes a point where it just has to be good enough.
So longer response than was probably wanted, but hopefully this will all be a good change. Visually change is typically a good thing as it shows a continued dedication to the site, and I think that it looks just a tad bit better than it did previously (though perhaps too busy).
I'm also hopeful that the forum can be a place for indie gamers to gather and chat about the games. This forum has been great for developers, but there isn't really a community of indie gamers anywhere. That being said I think it will take 6-8 months for the forum on the site to really work, so that is a wait and see.
09-15-2004, 05:55 AM
Not tooting my own horn (seriously!), but the monthly round-up is the BEST thing you've got going on that site! I really look forward to it, even though I already know what one of the reviews (the nastiest one, usually) will be for each game. I really would like to see maybe 2 or 3 more people signed up to do it (and I'd like to see GM shorten his reviews!), so that every game always gets a steady 4 reviews. It seems unfair when a couple of them end up with only 1 or 2 reviews each month. The really great thing about the round-up is simply seeing what games came out that month - same reason I loved the reviewless round-up that used to be on Indiegamer itself, before it became a bastion of "I have a great MMORPG idea!" posts. But it's also fun to see how SR decides to rip on each game.
So even though I'm not Cyrus, and I'm not running it, I hereby call for more people to join the Illustrious Panel! It's fun to do for the most part, and it doesn't take long to whip up those quick little reviews. I highly recommend it, even just as a research activity. I think I've learned quite a bit, and it only costs me an hour or two a day for the last few days of each month.
09-15-2004, 10:20 AM
I like the new visual design for the site alot more than the last two. It looks very professional. Much more pleasing to the eye :)
09-15-2004, 03:08 PM
I do love the illustrious panel and the game reviews. I didn't do as much last month after having to delete nearly all the reviews I did the month before due to a character limitation I ran into in phpNuke. I'll have to hunt down where that setting is and over-ride it!
Appreciate the kind comments on the site, the front page will still change a bit (in the middle) from where it is right now...hoping for saturday :)
09-15-2004, 06:03 PM
I agree with Hamumu you guys are doing a great job with the monthly round up. It's my favorite part of the site.
09-15-2004, 07:03 PM
Yeah, it's great (and clearly paying off - Brain Hotel scoring 3 from one reviewer and 9 from another!)... but please, please, can we have the screenshots link to a full-size version? I can't tell what's going on in those piddling screenshots.
09-15-2004, 07:44 PM
I always check the monthly round up as well, I find it usefull read three peoples reviews of a game, it brings balance to the force in a way that a single reviewr couldn't. Wouldn't hurt to have one more I'd say....
09-15-2004, 09:11 PM
I really like the monthly review round up as well. There's nothing like it on the web for Indie games.
Just one question though. Are you guys only reviewing full versions or are demo versions mixed in there as well?
09-16-2004, 02:36 AM
I also love the montly roundup.
09-16-2004, 04:42 AM
GT is looking good!
>>Are you guys only reviewing full versions or are demo versions mixed in there as well?
AFAIK we are all using demos for the round-ups. (with a few exceptions) In the few cases I had the full version I noted it. I've never emailed a developer for a full version because I didn't want to skew the scores by using a different version.
I think a system where Cyrus (or someone stuck with the job) sends a form email to each developer letting them know they can donate full versions for the round-up if they wish might work. (maybe the request could have the email for each reviewer, so they could send the codes/links directly)
Then, we could mark each game in the round-up with (DEMO) or (FULL) icon depending on if they respond or not. (give everybody a week or something, a very clear cut-off date)
It's bound to happen where SOME reviewers don't get the full version for some reason, so on second thought maybe each individual review needs a (DEMO) or (FULL) in front of it.
And I agree, a few more panel members would be great, they are really fun to read, especially when we give an identical review and then totally contrast on the next one. (Hamumu, Brain hotel is funny, darn it!!! ;) Except that creepy elevator guy scares me... :o )
09-16-2004, 05:14 AM
On the demo / full version I'd thought about trying to contact all the developers to get full versions, but realizing the amount of nightmare that it would create for me I decided not to go that route yet. Through the normal submission section on my site (http://www.gametunnel.com/html/modules.php?name=Feedback which is where I find out about many of these games) I have a field for a full version for reviewers only and the percentage of developers who include that information is right around 5%. That means I have to email the developers and I often run into language barriers, time issues and of course the time it takes to email 20 developers, get responses and get them out. For my part the round-up takes 10-20 hours a month total in its current format, which is a lot of time. Glad to see people enjoying it though and I'd love to have another member of the panel if someone feels they have the skills and time ;). I hate to monopolize GMs time as well as he has his site to run as well, so having a couple more people on it would be great.
Huge public thanks to Seth and Mike and Greg for all of their work on this the last couple of months!!!
09-16-2004, 11:01 AM
Cool, that's understandable.
Though as MrFun mentioned, it'd probably be nice to mention that the demo versions are being reviewed. That way it can help put things in perspective for the reader. Sometimes certain features are locked out of the demo, so it wouldn't be fair to give the impression that the whole package is being evaluated.
09-16-2004, 11:37 AM
I really like the monthly roundup as well, even if my game (Zany Blocks) got a 4 rating from one of the reviewers :)
Off on that tangent... it has been kind of funny to see how people react to the game. I expected a generally lukewarm reception to it (as it was more of an engine test than a game, and its full of programmer art), but it turns out that people tend to really like it or really dislike it. 5 cows on tucows, 4 stars on download.com, and a 4 / 7 split on GameTunnel...
(PS. The new 1.2 version loads faster, primarily due to switching from Cairo to Antigrain Geometry for the vector rasterization library. The new version of my game engine will vectorize graphic frames on-demand instead of all up front, so the next game won't have the longish transitional pauses between scenes. I may backport the new engine to Zany Blocks but I'm not sure).
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