Last year we launched Gamer Escape- a network to unite all of our community sites under one roof. Since then, we’ve been on quite a ride which has had many ups and downs.
Today we’d like to tell you about some changes for Gamer Escape as well as changes we’re considering while looking ahead to the future of the site. We encourage you to leave your thoughts and feedback in our forums.
It’s been about a year since we launched Gamer Escape, and it’s certainly been one of ups and downs for us. Given the recent site outages, we wanted to take this opportunity to quickly explain what’s been going on behind the scenes at Gamer Escape and what our vision is going forward. While we continue to have great aspirations for Gamer Escape, the fact that we are comprised of volunteers who help with the site in their spare time can always pose some problems. Everyone has different commitments, and at times the spare time that some are giving can dry up. This is what happened to Ganiman – one of the founders of Gamer Escape – who has decided to step away from the project – and with that we are certainly losing a valuable contributor. However, while volunteer projects such as ours can encounter this problem, it can also have advantages. The beauty of a community based site is that when someone steps away, there are others willing to step up and fill in. And in Ganiman’s absence they have. Most notably, community members Icydeath and Calandra have stepped up and helped out with the back-end server and database details. They are looking at the code, the systems, the programs and just about everything under the hood – and we have been having a lot of discussions on IRC about how to do things better, be more efficient, and just generally clean up the site and make it more stable. Those discussions have led us to some planned semi-significant changes (or probably more accurately described as goals) going forward.
The most significant goal is to have a more integrated site and feel. So that instead of having (as we do now) essentially separate sites (i.e. separate home pages, separate wikis, and separate forums) for each of radio, Wakfu, FFXI and FFXIV – along with the “main” site – we would have a combined “Home” page so that all news is in one place. We will continue to categorize the news of course, so to get only the FFXIV news, for example, you’d just go to http://gamerescape.com/category/ffxiv/ instead of the current from http://ffxiv.gamerescape.com. Similarly, we would combine the forums to be in one location (http://gamerescape.com/forums/) – but we would of course have sections for each of the main games we cover.
Along with these notable planned changes are more aesthetic ones. A new look (nothing too too drastic), maybe some new functionality (maybe comments on home page articles) – stuff along those lines. Community members Kendash (http://www.designcave.com)and Fusionx are “hard at volunteering” and are designing, tweaking and generally working to come up with improvements to the UI of the site.
Finally, I wanted to give a well deserved shout out to some community members that have been just killing it with keeping the site and information flowing – namely our moderators Tahngarthor, Urthdigger and Rurounizanza and some recent crazy helpful wiki editors Jerynh, Psymia, Seedling, Squallleone, Malizia and Rosalie.
As a community we have people talented in everything – software design, graphic design, database maintenance, writing, comics, brute force wiki editing, podcasting, etc. Our goal is to allow people who do what they do, and enjoy what they do, to do it for the benefit of the community and on a topic they enjoy. It’s not for everyone – and obviously many people are just users of the site versus contributors – but we are always looking for people with a passion about the games we are covering to contribute and help out. So hop onto IRC, put up a post or a PM, or shoot us an email if you are passionate about the games we cover and want to contribute some of your talents – no matter what they are or how small – and help the community. In the meantime we will continue to press on.
There has been a lot of work going into the site this year. Wiki templates for FFXIV are constantly evolving to make things easier for both casual users and editors, the community has started to show some renewed interest in updating our FFXI wiki, and our Wakfu forums and wiki are sure to see some excitement with the launch of the game at the end of this month.
While FFXIV has been seeing a lot of attention on the wiki side, we haven’t forgotten about our FFXI wiki. We’ve already had a few talks regarding the possibility of updating certain core elements of the wiki and will be looking into them after other changes are made to various areas of the website.
We’re currently looking into combining not only the blogs, but the forums as well into single entities. This will keep things much simpler on our end and hopefully make it even easier for users to find their way around the site once we complete our new layout design. We are also currently re-evaluating Gamer Escape Radio and its various components such as the forums, radio stream, shows and podcasts. (on a similar note, it was announced that the FFXI podcast Limit Break Radio is officially on hiatus)
Gamer Escape is a website for the community, by the community. It exists so John can figure out how to complete Windurst mission 3-1. It lets Sarah add a guide for cooking that other players can benefit from. It lets people discuss strategies for new content. It allows everyone to read the latest updates and news surrounding their game of choice, and if they don’t have the time, they can download a new podcast episode and listen to it on their way to wherever they’re going in order to stay informed.
We’d love to hear your ideas for the website, no matter how small or large they are. The Gamer Escape staff is only a small group of people and there are only so many free hours in the day for us. However, we are a passionate group and we want to make the site the best it can be.