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Chris

The GTA Place v4.0

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Hey all, nice big discussion topic for you to have a nice talk in with all the cool kids around here (me, other staff :P).

Basically, TGTAP is growing a bit dated now - I want to improve it with a new design and some new features. I have some ideas on a few things, but need discussion from everyone to decide on what's best for the site. So there's a number of things I want to bring up and have everyone talk about. This all mainly concerns the website rather than the forums, the forums I'll come on to a little later.

New design

I'm aware some of you do like to current design we have, as was brought up when we originally talked about a redesign last year. This time though it's pretty much a given that we will change the design, perhaps not in a major way, but we want to at least make it look a little nicer and better presented.

At the moment the website is fixed width at 1000px wide, so it fits nicely on all the most popular screen resolutions. One of the changes I was thinking of doing was making the width fluid - that means it'll stretch to fill the whole of your browser window - perhaps better for those who, like me, are using widescreen monitors, as has now become the norm in TV and laptops, and is slowly gaining popularity in desktop monitors too. The only problem with this is when we get to really wide resolutions. I'm browsing at 1680x1050 (not the highest res out there) and in a test design of TGTAP v4 I can see the content is look very minimal because there's just so much space to fill.

Question is: Are you happy with TGTAP at a fixed width of 1000px, or would you like it to fill the whole screen? Or if remaining fixed width, would you like to be able to select what width you browsed at? 1024, 1280, 1400 etc.

New features

In some backend changes that don't concern you, we're moving all our content to our database. What this does it make it a lot easier for the site staff to manage the content, and makes it easier for us to provide additional features. One of those features we'll be adding to the bottom of our content pages is related forum topics. So for example when browsing the GTA4 vehicles page, at the bottom of it you'll see links to related forum topics, i.e. those matching the keyword of 'vehicle' or 'car' for example in the topic title. This should help drive a bit of traffic to the forums, as well as perhaps interest casual readers into becoming a member, making them more aware of the forums.

Another new thing I'll be adding is a site-wide navbar, 'breadcrumbs' for those of you who know the term. The forum uses these when you're in a forum, or topic. Currently on the website, we only use this in the downloads database. For example if you were to browse GTAVC cars in our database, you'd see the breadcrumb above the table of results reads: > Downloads » GTA Vice City » Cars

And each is a link to the specified section. This is done for ease of navigation around the site, and should a user go deep into the website there is a clear path of where exactly they are. Let's take the San Andreas feature of fitness as an example. The breadcrumb would read: > San Andreas » Features » Fitness

I've already talked about user-selectable screen resolutions for the design, logged in users will also be able to select which style they see the whole site in. As you know we have a different colour scheme for each major GTA game since GTA III. You may prefer one of these to the default, and wish to see the entire site in it, rather than just the specific section.

Guests browsing the site will see promotional imagery for our forums, so we'll hopefully improve activity here. Logged in users will see promotional imagery for other things. For example we may wish to highlight a really good forum topic, maybe a popular mod such as the ENBSeries graphical improvement mod for San Andreas... or perhaps a really useful content page we've recently put up on GTA5 the next GTA game, hypothetically of course.

Forum Changes

The staff and I will also be working on getting this place up to scratch. There's rules and guidelines and various other things that need updating. We'll possibly be taking on board a couple of new moderators for the influx of GTA IV PC users we'll be receiving next month, and we want to get those things sorted by then.

In terms of things that you may or may not be interested in, the gang scene here. It's something we've kept while other sites have abolished, some leaving it to die at the bottom of their forum. Ours is sort of in between the two, we haven't got rid of it, but we haven't exactly done anything to keep it active and well used either. Now I stress this is something that will come after all of the above, and I'm not promising anything either. But depending on how things go and what people here want, a revitalisation of the gang scene may come. This would mean me improving our IPB modification itself, and others tidying up elsewhere. We'd of course need more gangs to be active and well-populated, rather than just the three big ones we have now. So this will take some time. I just thought I'd mention it here because it's relevant.

Timeframe for all these changes?

Hard to say really. Ideally, the new site design and all that would be done in time for TGTAP's 6th birthday on November 29th, but that's way too close, and I'm too busy with uni work and another major website in development which is being kept under wraps for that to actually happen. New Years Day is a tentative target I've set myself, which gives me the Christmas holiday to work solidly on things remaining to be done. Until then I can work on minor things. That date may well change though. I'll post any updates on progress here.

I think that's all I have to say for now. Feel free to use this topic to comment on the above changes I've described. Or if you have ideas of your own, don't hesitate to post them here. I'll take everything into consideration.

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Cool,would love to see the new gang scene,and whole screen.

BTW you should get someone to make a new design(me for an example? :awesome: ).It's getting old...

Edited by XLR8

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Nice, I'm looking forward to the new design. I do like the one we have now but it is getting kinda old.

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There's no chance of that - by far most people still have 1024 or 1280 widths, and that would go offscreen for them and force them to scroll.

1000px is the only one that will fit on all those, but can look a bit silly if you do have a screen wider than 1600px

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I'll have two widths available. 1000 for those on 1024x768, and 1250, for those on 1280x1024 or higher, and all widescreen resolutions. Mine is 1650px wide and the 1250px one looks fine on it. Chances are if you're using anything higher you won't be browsing full screen because most sites would just look weird.

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One of those features we'll be adding to the bottom of our content pages is related forum topics. So for example when browsing the GTA4 vehicles page, at the bottom of it you'll see links to related forum topics
Guests browsing the site will see promotional imagery for our forums, so we'll hopefully improve activity here. Logged in users will see promotional imagery for other things.

:awesome:

I like the current skin, but yeah it would be nice to see a new one. Is the forum skin going to change with the main site?

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i think the idea for new changes are good and seems that would help the site to boost in activity. i like it.

and i also like a new skin (although i always wanted the Orange and Grey skin back when i joined here)

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Well, this will be nice. :)

I'd like to be somehow involved in the "revitalization" of the gang scene, Chris. As you know, it's my thing. ;)

I really like where you're going with this mate. :)

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Gang Scene definitely needs to return, back around Jan 07' the gang wars were FTW, but it was FTL when it started around late night. :P I never had the chance to attack anybody but a few dead gangs. Haha.

Also, the website might as well stick to 1000px in width, It seems more better that way if you ask me. Plus I'm on Widescreen, but I don't really care tbh.

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Garhh.... Make the width smaller. It's annoying that it's about 5 pixels too wide :P I hate bottom scrollbars. I view on a flatscreen monitor with 1024x768... Dunno what sort of space computers you use but it's TOO WIDE for my screen.

Nice that the website's chaning, I guess.

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Well, I use a 40" LCD Sony Bravia TV with my PC lol. Sits just under the DVD player, so yeah, doesn't both me. ;)

Edited by Earthbound

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Yes, I agree with all the others. The skin is cool but it's too... old. :P

Also, I have a suggestion, why not create an SAMP server just for TGTAP? :)

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Gang Scene definitely needs to return, back around Jan 07' the gang wars were FTW, but it was FTL when it started around late night. :P I never had the chance to attack anybody but a few dead gangs. Haha.

Agree 100%. It was awesome with the gangs back then. DS, KFM, SFM etc etc.

We need to bring the old times back!!!

Also, I like the current skin at the moment but wouldn't complain with a new 1.

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In terms of the 1st question, I'd say keep it as it is, and have the option to change it to what you want. If you changed the length of the screen, the website would look stretched on my screen because I don't think mine is widescreen. I've had the PC and monitor for 7 years now, so I think you should keep it the same and have the option of changing it. That'd be fair for everyone. All other changes sound cool, but please bear in mind my point. :)

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perhaps a contest or something for people to post designs or let us vote on designs.

We already got that before, to choose the banner to the main site.

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