GameDeveloperTools.com Launch

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by TMichael, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. TMichael

    TMichael New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    GameDeveloperTools.com has officially launched!

    GDT was created to provide a one-stop resource of available tools for game developers everywhere. While there are many great resources currently available, few are regularly kept up to date, and nowhere can you browse every category in one place.

    The website houses an ever-expanding database with links to over 1800 books, engines, libraries, and middleware products. Our goal is to be as comprehensive as possible, and in that vein I encourage visitors to contact us with submissions, corrections, suggestions, or questions.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. JGOware

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    0
    Layout, buttons, etc, are way too big. Should show alot entries on the latest additions from the home page (not just 2 in each category) for quick and easy scanning. Could be a valuable resource in the future.
     
  3. TMichael

    TMichael New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the input JGO.

    If you find something that you think should be added, please send us a submission email from the links on the right. Our goal is to be comprehensive after all, and even though we have almost 2000 entries, there are always more tools out there to find. We appreciate any help we can get!

    PS: I have been receiving good feedback on the layout (clean and simple, which is nice to hear since this is my first site), but I like your idea for Latest Additions. I'll work on modifying the line size and shrinking the pictures so that I can show at least 4 or 5 items in each category.

    Cheers,
    Tim
     
    #3 TMichael, Aug 17, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
  4. TMichael

    TMichael New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just completed some major updates to the site. Highlights:


    • By popular demand, the Engines/Libraries area now displays letters across the top of each page to facilitate a more refined search. The Advanced Search page is also available.
    • The home page now shows the four most recent book, engine, and middleware additions in each category. Tiny font rules.
    • A smaller font is now used to display all searches, which means book and middleware searches now display one more item per page.
     
  5. whisperstorm

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2004
    Messages:
    641
    Likes Received:
    0
    Some feedback:

    Your logo at top should always be a link back to the homepage.
    You should put a searchbox at top somewhere on all pages.
    Big giant bevel buttons are so 1996.
    Get a blog/developer info page and link to it via the footer or your right hand column.

    :)
     
  6. JGOware

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    0
    Lots of empty white space, still could use some condesing. Like whisperstorm said, the big buttons are jurrasic. :)
     
  7. Acord

    Acord New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,217
    Likes Received:
    0
    Some feedback here - the layout is good and usable, the buttons fit the theme very well, even if they are a bit big.

    I would really like to see some sort of registration/review system for everything. It would make it easier to sort through all the chaff that's out there, but would require some editorializing on your end maybe.

    Perhaps let people submit reviews by email, so you could give feedback or determine if the article was good enough to post. And also allow comments on the reviews so that people looking through the engines could sift through them fairly quickly and understand some of their pros/cons.
     
  8. Bad Sector

    Original Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes Received:
    5
    Since you're competing with GameDev's books section and DevMaster's 3D Engine Database and both of them provide much more information and have a much wider audience to read (and fill them), you're much better to stick to what the URL describes: tools. Ironically it took me a while to realise that "Middleware" meant tools, since i had in my mind that middleware=libraries or code that you use as part of your engine/game.

    I recommend you to stick to a single thing and provide as better support for that thing as you can.
     
  9. oNyx

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    1,212
    Likes Received:
    0
    >Lots of empty white space, still could use some condesing.

    Too much white space is basically never an issue. If I remember correctly I haven't seen any page in my whole life which used too much white space.

    @site
    - Faux links there. Why do the headlines look like those (ugly) buttons?
    - Text as images. Bad.
    - Faulty markup (141 Errors, 100 warnings).
    - Main column text is smaller than the text over in the side columns.
    - The design looks dated. Really dated.
    - Mailto links which contain plain text email addresses. Have fun with the spam.

    Oh man... there are even more faux links in the main column. It's full of stuff which looks like links.

    The landing page is 781kb in size. That's f-ing HUGE! About 150kb is the acceptable maximum for something like that. For comparison the landing page of my blog is 117kb in size and it contains more text, more js, more css, and the images also cover a bigger area.

    Well, your document and CSS aren't gzipped, but that isn't your biggest problem since they are only 22+5kb in size. The main problem are your images.

    1. Do NOT embed color profiles.
    2. Re-compress your PNGs with pngout or optipng.
    3. Create thumbnails for the required sizes (don't scale them down via markup or CSS).
    4. Pick the most suited format.
    5. If it's JPG use progressive. If it's PNG/GIF do NOT use interlaced.

    For example latestengines.png is 73,525 bytes. If the color profile is removed and the thing is re-compressed with pngout it's only 9,995 bytes. If you also get rid of the transparency (it isn't required) it's 9,465 bytes. If you now also convert it to 8bit, it won't look all that different, but the size goes down to 4,609 bytes.

    That's a 93.73% reduction. (6.27% or the original size.)

    If you can reduce the size of all images to about 10%, which looks actually very easy in this case, the landing page would be only about 112kb big.
     
  10. TMichael

    TMichael New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for all the feedback!


    Whisper/JDO:

    Thanks for the feedback. As a new web developer, I really just wanted the page to be clean and easily accessible. Originally, I was considering tabs for the subject links, but the buttons seemed more thematically correct. I also wanted to avoid clutter-- simple is best. Oddly, the design has been getting surprisingly rave reviews in other forums.

    Regarding the logo-- when I turned it into a link, an ugly rectangle appeared around it which ruined the rounded edge effect. It looked fairly awful. Advice on how to make that rectangle transparent would be greatly appreciated. :confused:

    Searchboxes: There is a search box in the upper left column of every page already (excepting the home page, which links you first to one of the three database areas).

    Acord:

    Thanks! Per the registration/review idea, I think Bad Sector was right on target. I have my hands full keeping the database up to date at the moment. :)

    DevMaster.net is a huge resource already, and I could never hope to compete with the myriad reviews that site already has in place. The DevMaster database also includes a large number of categories which would take a herculean effort on my part to duplicate.

    I intentionally chose to include only a few major categories for each engine/library so that I would be able to keep up and keep them accurate. I felt this would better server the game dev community than a massive database which slowly grew outdated.

    As a resource, I feel more like a partner than a competitor with the larger sites.

    Bad Sector:

    Thanks, good advice! Read the response above.

    I agree about the Middleware term, since it does apply to everything (including most engines/libraries). I actually have five entries that are in both tables because of this gray area (clearly noted in the title of course). I'm definitely open to suggestions about how to more clearly distinguish them.

    Onyx:

    Thanks, very good advice! These are the specifics I need to learn more about. I'm not a pro designer, nor do I want to compete with them, but I do want my site to be as functional as possible.

    • Column text size: I think this just happened today when I reduced the font sizes for all my search results. This is on my to-do list.
    • Text as images: This is noob web designer mistake on my part. The text looked much better this way, but it's adds horribly to the page size. Also on my to-do list.
    • Faulty mark-up: I can work through these once the other wrinkles are worked out.
    • Faux links: So I like the buttons and have horrid taste! :p The title bars made the pages look better, distinguishing the primary header from the rest. I will probably just turn them all into links as opposed to replacing them with text.
    • Dated Design: I agree, but it's simple, so on this point I intend to leave it alone for a while. At least it's not Craig's List.
    • Craig's List: Don't say it, I know-- at least that site loads quickly...
    • Images: Thank you for this information! The design graphics are all non-interlaced .png, and the product links are .jpg. I'll work on converting them per your instructions above.
    • Also: If I run into any serious difficulties, would you mind if I mailed/pmed you to pick your brain?


    Thanks, everyone. Please keep the advice coming!
     
    #10 TMichael, Aug 19, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
  11. whisperstorm

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2004
    Messages:
    641
    Likes Received:
    0
    [style]
    a {
    border: 0px
    }

    [/style]

    You could start out with getting a CSS reset file like from YUI. That will help normalize your code across all browser. Another note, use a strict doctype - you'll have an easier time making your layout consistent across browsers.
     
  12. oNyx

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    1,212
    Likes Received:
    0
    >If I run into any serious difficulties, would you mind if I mailed/pmed you to pick your brain?

    I won't have much of a chance to reply. I'll be without net access for a while.

    Well, you can get rid of the color profile by converting the PNGs to TGAs with Imagemagick (mogrify -format tga *.png = convert all PNGs to TGAs) and then you can batch compress them with pngout (for %i in (*.tga) do pngout "%i"), but move the original PNGs to another directory first.

    Dunno if there is a nice way to do that with JPG. However, those thumbnails are so small that 8bit PNGs basically look the same (2.3-4kb each). Those book JPGs for example are about that size already.
     
  13. stevoboi

    stevoboi New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    I took a look at it, and I'm impressed at all the different but very nice tools that could possibly be of some great help to me in visual graphics and gaming tools.

    Thank you for posting this site and it's one of my bookmarks now :)

    Although the bevelled buttons as mentioned earlier do look a bit "Out Of Date"

    Maybe you could use some different buttons that are more in touch with the overall theme of your website.
     
  14. TMichael

    TMichael New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Whisper: I'll check out YUI, thanks!

    oNyx: Thanks! I'll see how much smaller I can get them. I'll be working on this after completing some high priority updates and a revision to the listing pages.

    stevoboi: Thanks! I will probably look at a button/layout redesign in a few weeks once I've caught up and finished a few of the high priority projects.
     
  15. stevoboi

    stevoboi New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds good to me, I'll keep in touch.
     
  16. TMichael

    TMichael New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Update:

    The most popular request received thus far has been to add a rating/review system of some kind. As stated above, I was initially opposed to the idea (DevMaster already has the ultimate review system for 3D engines), but I've been swayed by all the interest. It certainly would be nice to have a compilation of reviews for every type of engine, as well as books and other tools.

    I'm mulling over the implementation of such a system now (validation, etc.), but once integrated, I'm hoping the option to sort by rating will also come in handy.

    I thought I'd post here so the sudden addition didn't take anyone by surprise. :)

    Thanks for all the advice and support! I'll post again once a major update occurs.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer