MGSA Forum Theme

edited in Association News
Hey guys, I've completed a rough first draft of the forum theme I'm building for MGSA.


Full Links:


* The title of the site could be a contentious issue, I changed it from "makegamesSA" to "Make Games South Africa" to allow me to fit it on to two lines. I dont mind changing it again as long as it's not too long.

* The pagination and sidebar lists are a bit rough still, I will be putting more attention to them next.

* There's still no style for Announcement discussions.

* There's a few pages missing such as All Categories (which I think is useless if you have them on the sidebar) and stuff like My Drafts which I'll probably put under your profile dropdown.

* My monitor at home is larger than HD, so the fonts and dimensions may be a little large for smaller screens? That said,

* If you have constructive criticism to add, first download the PSD here, and mock up your idea and repost a screenshot of it here. Please dont just say "I dont like it". Rather, make a mockup and show us how you would have done it.


  • Looking at that screenshot, I'm impressed that @dammit managed to post the most recent post on ALL of those threads. Even the thread by @GarethF about the UCT game jam that has 12 new posts.

    Also I like the look of the theme.
    Thanked by 2dammit Ramperkash
  • I think it's a great start - but we do need a better solution for the category tag at the front of the thread title. It's just too many colours and they're all ending at different points and (I'm almost 100%) no one actually reads those (of the people that visit regularly).

    Wouldn't it make more sense just to allow you to filter for those categories and have the category of the thread perhaps underneath the thread title?
    Thanked by 1dislekcia
  • Looks pretty sweet to me!

    A few things i've found useful from the other themes/iterations
    * view count on the current theme is quite fun/useful
    * From the mobile theme (and I'm guessing it's the same in your mockup) knowing who the thread owner is more useful to me than knowing who the most recent commenter is. At best I think we should have both bits of info available
    * Agree with @dammit, the category tab would be more useful on the second line.

    Keep up the good work!
  • edited
    I wanna agree with a few above points, and then some:

    1. Category colour tags - them being in different widths does suck, I'm fine with moving them below the title, but it might be a bit cramped there. Alternatively, how about we move them off to the right of each item, where there's just whitespace now?

    I know in what we have now there's a gear icon ("dismiss"??) and a star (who uses that?)... Are they necessary?

    2. Where *did* the thread starter go? It used to be there.

    3. Agreed on view counts. We should keep them.

    4. I would prefer rather than Make Games South Africa, as the makegamesSA is shown everywhere else as the latter rather than the former. Are there reasons other than "can put it on two lines" for using the latter option?

    5. The "Get in touch" with the icons feel unnecessary. Twitter and facebook icons should be enough.

    6. Are those the actual top nav/tag items that we've settled on?

    Great diggidy job @Nitrogen :)
  • I use the star icon a ton :)

    I also actually prefer Make Games SA rather than makegameSA in the title. Looks more professional overall.

    Having the Get in Touch call to action seems like a good idea to me.
  • edited

    It's extremely difficult to satisfy everyone's needs in terms of the information layout for the discussions list.

    • The thread starter will be shown via the avatar image on the left, and if you hover over it, it will give a tooltip with the person's name and date the thread started.

    • The category tags are difficult to get right. My thinking was that you would read them as part of the title of the thread. I dont see any better way of doing it for now. If you feel strongly about it, refer to the last point of the original post.

    • The number of views, again are difficult. I agree they've become useful especially with all our lurkers on the forums. I wonder if it's not better to just tabulate the data and get it over with.

    • The gear and star bookmark would probably appear on rollover only. The gear is also used by admins to control each discussion, so it does need to be there.

    • As for the title, I feel Make Games South Africa is better than makegamesSA in terms of readability and flow. When you say makegamesSA is shown "everywhere else", where are you refering to? How difficult would it be to change? Do we have a CI?

    • The Get In Touch is not actually meant to be grouped with the social icons, it's actually another page completely with information on how to contact the MGSA association.

    • The menu items at the top of the page are what @fengol and I worked out in the meeting. Ultimately the forums are only going to form one part of a larger website with different sections.
  • 1. I think the avatar is a good enough, though I think having the starter's name in text is better, as a bunch of icons can get distracting.

    2. The thing is that people shouldn't read them as part of the thread title, it becomes cumbersome if you're forced to - if the categories are equal widths it would be easier to read the title sans the category, which is how we would read it in most cases, for speed's sake.

    3. What do you mean tabulate the data? On the thread list view? Or something else?

    4. Gotcha, gear and star = good :)

    5. Everywhere else refers to t-shirts, branding elsewhere (events etc). The thinking was that the singular wordmark is enough to communicate a whole bunch of things - it's about making games, in SA, and there's the url if you're interested. It beats having "Make Games South Africa -" in most instances. Of course, this being the website itself, it makes sense not to NEED the url in the logo, but we've kinda adopted it *as* the logo. If we wanna change it then we can discuss it... Probably elsewhere. We don't have a CI beyond the bare basics that we threw together super quickly.

    6. I didn't realise the Get In Touch was a page on its own. Its arrangement with the social icons make easily read as being associated.

    7. Cool
  • edited
    I mean tabulate the data like so:
    Thanked by 2dammit Tuism
  • Ooh, the tabulation looks pretty cool! Lot more information density. I like that.

    Only thing is be sure to test with a max length forum title using wide letters like W. Imaging that will break it pretty quickly. Like maybe views can be part of the second column which leaves more space for the title. ;)
  • @Nitrogen: Titles can get pretty long and I'm not sure it's a good idea to elevate views to that amount of importance. Could those be on the second line instead? They're still information, but we don't need fodder for meaningless comparisons. The comments + new splashes could be all the way on the right then.
  • Well thats why I took out Views because it doesnt fit anywhere. I was going to have it show how many views there were IF there are 0 comments. Otherwise, we can hide it under a rollover - eg hovering over comments pops up how many views.
  • @Nitrogen: Surely there's room in the second line, right between the tag and the thread starter? It really doesn't have to be a huge font.
  • edited
    Could work, I'll give it a try tomorrow.

    Also, I tried the old site title text in the above version.
  • I like the tabulated view's idea, but I think they don't need to be upweighted that much both in terms of font size and being separated into three parts... here, let me show you:

    Here's my mockup. Let 'er rip!

    <img src="" />

    (by the way the insert image button after attaching it seems to be white on white? Invisible?)
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  • Thats looking very good @Tusim, The only thing I think is worse is that the "New" comments are very far away from the actual thread title, so it's hard to see which row corresponds to which. Or is that not much of an issue for you guys?
  • Provided clicking on the new icon itself opens up the thread at the correct place, that's perfect for me :)
  • I have the same issue with the new, but I think is an easy win. Append it to the end of the title (or the second row under the title), it's important enough. With that, we (hopefully) have something that is both usable and sexy looking.
  • I don't mind it going closer to the left, either at the end of the title or in the 2nd row's end. It makes less logical sense there, but seems like enough people think it's important.

    I just wonder about the "I think it's important" line of thinking as other people might also find the thread starter important. Or number of comments important, then we're back to everything on the left, which I'd rather avoid.

    Anyway, I'm happy with it left or right, it's really not like I can't or don't associate the [x new] icon with its correct thread title easily enough anyway.
  • On the thread starter: I think it's great if their handle is shown, but I feel like the avatar might give them a little too much focus.

    I don't feel particularly strongly about this, and I'm not a designer, so it's just my 2c
  • edited
    Opinions please. (Calling @Tuism :P)

    I've been working on coding up the MGSA theme, and I need to get some outside opinions as a sanity check. Does it look okay on an HD screen?

    - The colours of the categories are based on a formula that takes in a Hue and spits out the tinted colours you see. It's probably not as good as hand tweaked values though.

    - The date formats are more informative now (you can actually see what time things were posted now)

    - The Red strip dog-ear corner thingy is meant to show an announcement post. I'm not 100% happy with them, but cant find a better way to do it at the moment.

    - You'll notice threads that are longer than one page long have quicklinks to each page next to them. Clicking on the title or the number of comments will take you to your last read post.

    - The good news is that we're getting a per-user setting to choose either a light or dark theme. Wooo!
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  • I just have two questions:

    1. Are bookmarks still accessible?
    2. How soon can we switch to this?

    I'm sure we can find things to improve once we've had a bit of a chance to use it, but I vote for switching now and working out the minor details later. The only thing that would make me want to wait before switching is if bookmarks don't work cause I make fairly extensive use of them and I believe others do too.
  • @francoisvn, I forgot to mention, the bookmarks definitely will be in the sidebar as a list like in the old theme, I just haven't got there yet. Was also planning to show your discussions as a list there as well.

    Before we can start using it, I've got to fix up the thread page, it's still untouched as of yet, but yeah I'm all for installing it and tweaking as we go.
  • Hey :D It looks great!

    On the date format, is it then everything that's not this year gets a year on it? So the 2015 posts are not labelled 2015 and the rest are? I'm fine with that, but some people might find that confusing. Maybe. Probably not a big deal.

    I in fact like the dog-eared announcement posts much better than the vague colour shifts we had in the past where I usually have to move my head up and down to see which were stickies and which weren't. We might change it from triangles to circles (like iOS notifications) or stars or whatnot if anyone else has good reason to, but I think the triangles are good.

    "Mark All Viewed" should really not be on top like that, right? Probably should be under the page selection (pagination) element, but visually it should be right-aligned, on the same row as "Home" just above "Make Games SA".

    Wait, that whole big "Make Games SA" should actually "Discussions" or "Home", rather than repeating the name just above it.

    Good job man :)
  • Looks great to me. I'm all for getting this implemented and then applying incremental improvements!
    Thanked by 1damousey
  • Thanks guys :D

    @Tuism - Yes those are all valid points,

    The dates grow in complexity depending on how far in the past they are, so it starts with 6:00pm (if it's today) then 6:00pm 12 Feb (If its this year), then finally 6:00pm 12 Feb 2014 (For anything else)

    Lots of things can be hovered over with the mouse to see more info - the dates show full dates, the title shows an excerpt of the discussion and the avatar image shows who it's started by and when.

    The "Mark All Viewed" yes, I am going to nuke that menu item, I dont have a lot of control over where it's put because it's a plugin for the forums, but it's proper place will be in the menu that appears under your name.

    The homepage title will definitely change to something like "Recent Discussions" or something. It's just a setting in the backend.
    Thanked by 2Elyaradine Tuism
  • Front page pretty much done!

    I'm just getting the comment view looking better and then we'll be ready to start using it.
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    Thanked by 2Fengol damousey
  • Could you post a preview of a Discussion so we can give a round of preliminary feedback there too?
  • @damousey the Discussion page is still under heavy development, but here's a preview in an unfinished state:
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    Thanked by 1damousey
  • I've finalised the comments page, I'm quite happy with the way the Thanks hearts turned out, nice and juicy.

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  • Wow, I must say that I'm impressed with the new theme. It looks like it's going to be great.
    Thanked by 1Nitrogen
  • Thanks for the hard work. :)
    Thanked by 1Nitrogen
  • Whipped up a dark theme while I was at it - you'll be able to choose this through your profile.
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  • Awesome! Let's get it up! The current theme doesn't even hold a candle to it ;)
    Thanked by 2Nitrogen Fengol
  • Loving the new theme! Absolutely fantastic!!! :D
    Thanked by 2Nitrogen Fengol
  • aaaah, yeah, this is sexy.
    Thanked by 2Nitrogen Fengol
  • edited
    Thanks for the words of encouragement guys!
    I see there's some issues with images not resizing, I'll have a look at those tonight.
    Thanked by 2Karuji damousey
  • ooo shiny! very nice
    Thanked by 2Nitrogen Fengol
  • I have to admit I didn't think I'd like the Dark theme over the Light but I actually prefer it!
  • Yeah! It's growing on me too! I whipped it up quickly last night, so it's got some rough edges but it's off to a great start.
  • Oh man, great job guys. New theme is great :D
    Thanked by 1Nitrogen
  • Yay! Love the new theme today.
    Thanked by 1Nitrogen
  • Looks great, nice one! Also getting some images that are showing full size and unaligned rather than thumbnail versions, but looks like you're on that
    Thanked by 1Nitrogen
  • Oh hey I see the logo's been updated :) woohoo :)

    By the by, are we expecting to see a custom home page anytime soon? I only mention this because if we're going to be handing out MGSA "business cards" at GDC we should show people arriving first time better context and representation.
    Thanked by 1damousey
  • @Tuism, probably not in time for GDC
  • edited
    I've fixed the couple of bugs mentioned here, improved the dark theme and added very basic image resizing.

    You can at least browse through @Elyaradine's Art Dump now without fear! (Amazing work in there dude by the way, it was quite cool to test the resizing with :P )
    Thanked by 2Elyaradine damousey
  • Great work guys looks fantastic. One thing, can we get a "Home" button at the bottom of threads again?
    Thanked by 1AngryMoose
  • edited
    We've come quite a long way:

    vintar said:
    Great work guys looks fantastic. One thing, can we get a "Home" button at the bottom of threads again?
    I didnt think anyone used that. I'll think about how to add it in a decent way, like a footer menu or something...

  • Not quite a theme issue, but could we get back to having the email notifications about posts include the actual post content? That would be swell.
    Thanked by 1francoisvn
  • Hmm. I think there are notifications (i.e. a little red tag that says "NEW") for new comments to a thread, but I believe there's no indication that a thread hasn't yet been viewed when it's a new thread with no comments, making new threads a bit easier to miss.
  • Clicking the "Preview" button for a lengthy post shows a preview, but there's no scrollbar for being able to see the whole post preview.

    Sorry for being a nuisance. :P
    Thanked by 1Tuism
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