So we’re back online. The Chest of Colors web site and the forum – for all your miniature painting fans! The whole process took more time than we expected, but to keep the long story short – the transition was not a small thing and had to be done by one person only.
And now the long story:
Why change anything?
We started talking about possible changes years ago. Probably more than 2-3 years ago. Something was going wrong with the website, and its integration with the forum had to be removed. Since that time some people actually started to believe that the “green website” and “blue forum” are two completely separate entities. Moreover, so little was going on at the main site that it was merely a gallery attached to the forum (well, maybe with the addition of a few tutorials, but very rarely updated).
Aditionally security problems started disturbing our peace, and so we had to disable some features of the website… It was becoming more and more lifeless…
Upgrade is planned
So we started preparing a new version of the website, moved to a different engine, and it was all going well, until real life kicked in and before the trouble was gone a new major version of the engine was released, making almost all of the work already done – useless.
Instead of giving up, after checking all the odds-and-ends, we decided to move on to the new version, adjust to the new conditions and begin the works from the scratch. In the meantime we learned that a little Balrog will be born (no, Balrog is not his real name, and if you still don’t know who I am talking about, you should definitely check the Painting Mum blog. This little boy, still unborn at that time, gave us a huge boost of motivation, because we knew that if we don’t finish the changes before his birth, it will take long before we can have enough time to finish it…
And boy, we were right! Balrog was expected to be born in late June 2010, but he didn’t want to wait that long – although all we needed was like a week or two of work to be able to launch some kind of a website, the birth of this little boy made it totally impossible. We didn’t expect such an active baby, who didn’t leave us even minutes of free time for anything miniature related. So the whole thing had to be put aside for months and it was only when he was a few months old before we could resume our works. But guess what…
We’re getting there…
… Yes, you surely guessed right – the engine was changed so much in the meantime that continuing our works was only as good as starting them from the scratch. But this time our motivation was huge. We chose to make the last technical switch and finally move on with the works at the cost of private lives, hobby time, sleep, and family or social lives. But this allowed us to launch the site on August 1st 2011!
Sure, the site is not perfect and many flaws are still being found and taken care of. But you can visit the Chest of Colors again, and soon we’re going to have cool new articles for you! Not only tutorials but also completely new concepts!
- So at this point, speaking on the whole team’s behalf (but surely mostly on mine) let me thank:
- Ana and Balrog, whose patience and tolerance allowed me to devote my time to the task of upgrading the website
- the Chest of Colors team and painting studio – for their understanding amd bearing with frequent delays on my end while I was focused on this job
- our forum users, members of our community – for staying with us for all the time and not leaving despite all the technical shortcomings
- all the miniature fans who contacted me and had to wait very long for their answers and any other actions on my end
- you, the readers, who waited so long for the website – first bearing with the old website, and then with the “the Chest is being repainted” announcement.
Thank you all very much!
Where are we now?
Now the website is still missing some features and much content is still to be added. But you know, the team members and authors need to get used to the new site before they contribute some new stuff, and I still need to fix all the glitches and optimize the website for your better experience. In the meantime we have some interesting articles for you to read – and they’re coming very soon! So stay tuned!
We’ll be still tweaking the site, so forgive us if the site behaves in a strange way sometimes. We’ll be adding new features as well, but we’ll keep you informed about it.
And what’s new? Let me give you a short roundup of all the major changes on the site…
The new features include:
- changed frontpage, so you can now easily see and access new stuff on the website, jump to recommended posts or fundamental must-reads
- redesigned menu, as most people never used the side menu and chose the horizontal one – you wanted it, you got it!
- better “About us” section, as the old one was not only outdated but also not very informative
- tagged posts – for easy access to posts on particular subjects
- tagged photos – now you can move through galleries by clicking on tags under photos
- RSS feeds – never miss any interesting news from our website, get them delivered directly to your feed reader
- better integration with social websites like Facebook or Twitter – now you can share interesting content with your friends easily
- comments – now you can ask questions or comments to our posts, so you’re not only a reader but also a participant in discussions!
- medals system on the forum – various achievements will be rewarded with special badges visible in profiles
- donate button – if you appreciate the work we put into this website and keeping it interesting and want to help us cover the costs of hosting, you may send us a little donation
And what’s yet to come?
- updates via email – delivered straight to your mailbox
- newsletter – even more stuff available exclusively for our subscribers
- integration of logins for the forum and website – you will log in to one of them an be logged on to both
- new columns (regular or irregular) with some cool contents, now secret 😉
- links to websites useful for miniature enthusiasts
- more and more articles, photos, and interesting discussions with the members of our community!
Thanks for your attention!
Now it’s time to finish this post… I kept your attention for long enough already.
Instead of sitting here any longer, why don’t you take a look around, see what’s available and what not. Maybe you have some suggestions? Ideas of stuff you would like to see or read about here? What are your expectations and miniature painting plans for the rest of 2011? And maybe you just want to say “good to see you back”? Leave a comment below and we’re all ears!