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IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ

 Post subject: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:03 pm 
Swarm Tyrant
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I have been considering this site recently, and its future and evolution. Over time, this place has become - in my opinion - unfocussed and scrappy. It started off as a place to develop Epic Armageddon lists and rules. Since then, it has been expanded to include general wargames, specialist games, battelfleet gothic and warp rift, and other aspects. The end result is somewhere that is viewed as having cliques, making it difficult for people to get involved and opinions which have been established over time. There are also parts of the site are extremely underused - the wiki, blogs, bfg discussion - and parts that hold the site up - EA development, miniatures painting and so on.

Specifcally, the main issues - again, as I see them - are:

The Wiki section is almost entirely neglected and not used, aside from a single wiki page listing the EA forces available, the entire section is vacant.

The web site needs rebuilding from the ground up, with a lot of content to be added, but I do think that there is a lot of potential there.

These forums have grown to attempt to encompass every type of gamer out there. This leads to sections being unused, the main member group being quite a clique, and the feeling from the boards (as far as I can tell) is that the focus is confused between development and general wargaming.

The site focus one the one hand cant be supported by only EA chat and development, and on the other hand I dont really see the point in making yet another general wargame site. I wish that Epic was a fully developed, mainstream and popular game. But, the bottom line is that this is not true, and the situation will not improve in the short term. Basing an entire web site on this game is an exercise in failure, not if, but when.

My solution to this is to make changes along two lines - structure and scope.

The goal is to upgrade the entire site to utilise a CMS - a Content Management System. For those unaware, this is a piece of software which organises the site for you. Imagine the wiki, and these forums, and even the web site and pages themselves, all run under a single system. One log in would give you access to all the features, and the end result is a community rather than a collection of members... in theory.

Regarding the scope, this site will broaden its focus. I want to go outside of just Epic and GW games. Like many people, they are not the only games that interest me any more. However, I am less interested in a 'general wargaming' site covering all game types in all scales for all people. If forced to select, my two loves for wargames are space games, and army scale games. Therefore, this site will change to cater for players of army scale games - which I am loosely defining as 6mm and 10mm miniatures wargames - across all genres. My goal will be to publish the latest industry news, highlight events, provide a hub for players and companies of these games, and be the first stop for people interested in army scale games. Currently, I dont think that this facility exists on the web, and I do think that it would be a valuable one. Clearly, Epic fits into this remit strongly, and my dedication to this game and its development has not changed. In fact, structural changed will mean that this is better defined, and I hope will support EA development better than we currently do. Likewise, my stewardship of the SG games will not change. They will remain here, in the 'SG Annex' and will continue to have a home.

Broadly, the structural changes will be:

- the wiki will be removed
- the current (minimal) web content will be removed
- these will be replaced with a CMS
- this CMS will include a forum (there will be many other functions as well, such as blogs, but that is a discussion for later)
- these boards will remain, but BFG material will be transferred over to the SG boards, while general wargaming, miniatures, and so on, will move to the new boards. The new CMS boards will take the 'Tactical Command' label.

What will be the result? These boards will deal only with EA development, and suppliments. All other content will be moved across. This means that we can expand the forums in a variety of ways to better suit development, and only people who actively want to get involved in development need post. These boards will then revert to their original name - bringing it back after many, many years... EpiComms.

As a side effect, the SG boards and section will be the best place to talk about BFG on the web, and will benefit from this greatly. I will also work on expanding the SG game resources and discussion following this.

So, what are the consequences for you guys?

- Yes, you will most likely need to register at the new boards as well. If you are not interested in development for EA for any reason, then you only need your account there (I can delete accounts here if required). If you are only a developer, you wont need to register at new boards (although I hope that you will sign up as the registration will give you access to a host of other functions as well). Most people will probably want to be a member of both sides.

As far as I can see, that is the only real disadvantage to this. I am committed to not deleting or losing data or resources. I am also extremely aware that you guys are the biggest draw of this place, the community and membership that make it a dynamic and fun place to visit. I am sure that these changes will not appeal to everyone. I understand this. I am posting well in advance to let you guys know, because many of you are invested in this place as well. I am happy to take comments and reactions to this, but please do try to understand where I am coming from with it, and what I am trying to achieve.

Many thanks to you all for your patience and support for this site. I hope that this is the start of a period of growth for this place, and that it will get the recognition that I think it deserves.

All the best,
CS

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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:03 pm 
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recommend Drupal as CMS :D

good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:18 pm 
Swarm Tyrant
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adam77 wrote:
recommend Drupal as CMS :D

good luck!


:D Yeah, thats the one that I will probably be going with. I looked at Joomla, too, but a lot of the modules are expensive. Drupal also has one of the better forums out there with CMS. (I also looked at Frog, Wordpress, PHP Fusion, TikiWiki, MODx and several others.)

As for document store, we would have three options for this, although I dont want to start making strong statements about a platform that I have not installed yet....

- Worst case, I could just up the allowed document size here. With this place only for EA development, we could even have a single board just for uploads and resources, that ACs and ERC members could post to, so anyone looking for the latest documents could find them all pinned in the same board.

- The CMS would also include document storage, as we have now. So things dont even need to change.

- Also, as a community site, many people could post articles and updates, and adding these would be a lot simpler than it is currently, so there is no reason that the site couldnt just have the latest versions of the lists easily.

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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:57 pm 
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All in all I think this is really positive news CS.

Let me know if I can be of any help at any stage.

Thanks for providing the resources you have to keep Epic alive. Without your efforts we would be in a much worse place.


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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:01 am 
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amen to that.

so you'll be maintaining three boards? the old SG ones (now busy with BFG), these ones (cut back to EA dev work) and a new one for 'army scale games', minitures and what have you.

so it's similar to the one we have now, just with the major sections at a further degree of removal from each other?


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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:30 am 
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so does that mean army development will be in one forum, and army diaries and pretty pictures will be in another?
where do battle reports with pretty pictures, and spruiking for tournaments go?

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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:50 am 
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What about EA rules queries? They would seem to bridge the gap; I'm not sure whether I'd like them in the TacComs and allow the EpiComms to just link them, or have them all in one place but make it almost required to sign up for both for Epic stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:16 am 
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Hi CS

Did you have an approximate timeframe before d-day to re-register/register?

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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:23 am 
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So we won't be discussing Other companies models, rules, etc. ? :-\

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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:00 am 
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And this is exactly why I wanted to post my intentions and open this up to discussion in advance of making any changes at all, so that I could answer some questions and make sure that there was nothing that I had missed....

madd0ct0r wrote:
so you'll be maintaining three boards? the old SG ones (now busy with BFG), these ones (cut back to EA dev work) and a new one for 'army scale games', minitures and what have you.

so it's similar to the one we have now, just with the major sections at a further degree of removal from each other?


Technically, yes. The site will have three boards, which is a strange situation to be in. However, they will be far better defined with what their focus is. Right now, both the current forums can be used to discuss Epic, BFG and other games such as Necromunda. The new setup will mean that any SG games at 28mm (and Inqusitor) will be located over on the SG boards. It also means that events such as the GothiComp BFG painting competition will happen over there and hopefully concentrate the community.

As for the degree of seperation, yes and no. The easiest way to think about it is that the average players will use the new boards. If you just want to play Epic (and other games) then discussion on miniatures, rules questions, scenarios, etc will happen over on the new boards. Any development on lists, suppliments and so on will happen here. Let me put it this way, if Epic was still a part of GW, these boards would be the equivalent to the GW forums, while the new boards will be the 'players discussion' forums. Of course, there will always be a little crossover - although I would want to keep this to the absolute minimum - in the same way that a thread over on Warseer may be linked to here, and so on.

Jaggedtoothgrin wrote:
so does that mean army development will be in one forum, and army diaries and pretty pictures will be in another?
where do battle reports with pretty pictures, and spruiking for tournaments go?


Yes, to the first part. Army diaries, pretty pictures and so will happen on the new boards. In fact, with the potential of blogs, image storage and other features on the new site, this should be made easier to do generally. Tournament discussion will also happen on the new boards, along with tournament announcements for other games, to reach a wider audience. There is also potential to link tournament announcements to both front page news items and a calender.

Spectrar Ghost wrote:
What about EA rules queries? They would seem to bridge the gap; I'm not sure whether I'd like them in the TacComs and allow the EpiComms to just link them, or have them all in one place but make it almost required to sign up for both for Epic stuff.


I think that you are correct and that this is the area that will cause the most potential confusion. However, my initial thought is that rules questions would also move to the new boards (except where those questions relate to work in development). A certain amount of settling down and cross linking is - I think - inevitable initially. I agree that I am hesitant to require everyone to create a second account, but on the other hand I would rather deal with all of the upheaval at the same time and get it done with, than attempt to make concessions and potentially leave the situation cloudy and unresolved.

frogbear wrote:
Hi CS

Did you have an approximate timeframe before d-day to re-register/register?


This will not be an overnight change. Phase one is to sort out, archive and remove the various sections that we currently have. Another reason that I am talking about this now - well in advance of doing anything - is to allow people to make backups and to ensure that we dont lose anything. I would rather have 20 backup copies of something, than find that no-one had it. Certainly, nothing will be happening before Thursday 21st July. From that time, the Wiki and main site resources are first to be organised. Over here, the boards will need to be turned off when the actual installation happens (for maybe a day or three) but will return entirely unchanged after this is done, and while I configure the main site and set up at least the forum over there. At that point I will leave the current structure as it is, but turn off the ability to create new posts (or to reply to posts). That way, the current threads will stay as reference for a while.

Legion 4 wrote:
So we won't be discussing Other companies models, rules, etc. ? :-\


Not here. But, the new boards will be exactly for this - open discussion of 6mm and 10mm games and miniatures.

Essentially, these boards will be reduced down to EpiComms News, NetEA Rules Ammendments, NetEA Battle Reports and the boards for each of the forces under development. We can also have boards for each of the suppliments, if required, and I am happy to discuss adding boards as they are needed.

I hope that this helps clarify a few issues. I know that this all seems quite large scale, but I do think that it is worth going through some disturbance in order to better focus where we are and what we are trying to achieve.

Thanks for your feedback.

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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:49 pm 
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I don't understand how having a board specifically for epic development would solve the problem you're alluding to with cliques. To me that would further any exclusion of people and ideas.

As to having parts of the forum that are unused (or used less), I think that's going to be the case no matter how you organize things. Creating a third forum isn't going to see unused sections suddenly utilized, it's just going to create a third forum that people here will want to register for and check.

I agree with you on the wiki/web-site points (although I think having a CMS system up and running before you pull down the wiki and web stuff would be best) as well as the moving of the BFG stuff to the SG boards (that's where most of the BFG activity is anyway). I just don't see the need for a third board for the "general stuff, and Epic stuff not related to development". You're creating more work for yourself and another site for us to check. I say keep the Epic and general stuff here, and forget about the third board.

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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:18 pm 
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Will we be able to post pics of our painted models, trading, etc. ? I was always an advocate of this site and recommended it to other because of all the various topics, etc. ... I was hoping it would become the best site to discuss to post pics, trade, etc. for all 6mm sci-fi, as well as other gaming. I don't know how the narrow focus will work. I'm primarily a modeller now, based on the game and not a gamer. I normally don't talk about rules very often, as there are a lot of Epic rules systems out there. And I'm only really partial to SM1 and E:A. And even those I think have flaws ... But we'll have to see ... ;)

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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:33 pm 
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Dave wrote:
I don't understand how having a board specifically for epic development would solve the problem you're alluding to with cliques. To me that would further any exclusion of people and ideas.

As to having parts of the forum that are unused (or used less), I think that's going to be the case no matter how you organize things. Creating a third forum isn't going to see unused sections suddenly utilized, it's just going to create a third forum that people here will want to register for and check.

I agree with you on the wiki/web-site points (although I think having a CMS system up and running before you pull down the wiki and web stuff would be best) as well as the moving of the BFG stuff to the SG boards (that's where most of the BFG activity is anyway). I just don't see the need for a third board for the "general stuff, and Epic stuff not related to development". You're creating more work for yourself and another site for us to check. I say keep the Epic and general stuff here, and forget about the third board.


Thanks for your response. As far as I can see it, there are a few issues. Firstly, the structure is only half of the problem here. If that were all, then I would agree with you. However, I really would like to expand the site beyond Epic. If we keep this place and dont create the new boards - even if we integrate it with a CMS - we have two problems. Firstly, that it is still viewed as an 'Epic development' site and secondly that the number of boards and topics covered here becomes very large, and potentially more disorganised than they currently are. The goal is that the new boards will be viewed as a general discussion area for a variety of games, which can grow much larger, without losing the heart of the development going on here.

Legion 4 wrote:
Will we be able to post pics of our painted models, trading, etc. ? I was always an advocate of this site and recommended it to other because of all the various topics, etc. ... I was hoping it would become the best site to discuss to post pics, trade, etc. for all 6mm sci-fi, as well as other gaming. I don't know how the narrow focus will work. I'm primarily a modeller now, based on the game and not a gamer. I normally don't talk about rules very often, as there are a lot of Epic rules systems out there. And I'm only really partial to SM1 and E:A. And even those I think have flaws ... But we'll have to see ... ;)


These threads will also be on the new boards. Yes, it will mean registering again, but its still the same site, and these boards will not need as much time to check through as they will be tighter and more focussed.

I also want this place to be the best place for 6mm sci-fi, and beyond. However, with only using this board, we have two purposes to the place, two groups of people posting about potentially different topics, and a large board trying to do two things at the same time.

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 Post subject: Re: IMPORTANT CHANGES - PLEASE READ
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:11 pm 
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Personally I like having the sort of content on the boards we have now, though they are overly cluttered and messy and in need of a clean-up. I don’t see that having both playtesting and modelling on one board is at all confusing, as they both live in their separate sections and each feeds into the other some. I can just check both places though and overall changes could be potentially good if implemented well.

I don’t play BFG but getting rid of the BFG stuff here and focussing it at the SG forums should help focus.

I hope you can get the all-in-one ‘army book’ plans/site to fruition in the not so distant future as that will help focus and simplify things a lot and more than anything else.

How do you hope to attract users and posters of these other games? Are there not already existing sites/forums for those that people are interested in? It seems that there are a lot of sections set up on the forum here to discuss various things, but many haven’t ended up being used.

I've never used the Wiki myself and would be happy to see it gone. The army book can have the current lists all in one place and we can develop lists in the relevant places here.

I would suggest trying to simplify the structure of the forums – the current forum has a whopping 77 sub-sections, but I think this length and structural complexity is considerably OTT and off-putting in itself and a factor in why so much of it is un/little used, as sections and people get lost in it all.

For development having a sub-forum for each race as we have makes sense and is helpful. In the re-jigging process please could you add a section for Dark Eldar? They’re a main race and don’t share any units with Craftworld Eldar, so having the two be muddled up together in one sub-forum makes little sense. I don’t think there’s need for a Raiders or Siege sub-forum, the supplements are done already and any future list updates will be discussed in the relevant army sections. A Developing Supplements sub-forum could be a very good addition as people could start threads for their projects and people could see at a glance the current ongoing projects.

Quote:
- the current (minimal) web content will be removed


Could we keep access to past Epicomp galleries in some fashion? They’re nice to look back on for inspirational miniatures.

Good luck getting it all sorted CS!


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