This is it: the next generation of forum software for Interordi, IOBoard v2.0.
This is something that's been under development for more than five years, done between other projects, until I finally decided last year to prioritize it, so it's been a loooooong time coming. IOBoard's core design was shaped all the way back in 2005, and was heavily inspired by a 2002-era base. It had evolved since then, of course, but it had definitely aged, and not always gracefully.
The page layout was awkward, with misplaced links (why was "Mega Man Games" next to "Stats"?) and originally built with 800x600 screens in mind. Today's 1080p (or even 4K) screens and mobile devices need something a bit different. The interface was fairly common at the time but no longer represents people's expectations: "that site looks old" was a common saying among newcomers.
On top of this, a lot of the posts are getting old (the archives date back to March 2002), so I've made some adjustments to account for this. For example, when you start typing a name to send a private message to someone, a list of possible matches will pop up. That list will be limited to members who have been active in the past year only, narrowing down the results quite a bit.
Everything that used to be here is still available: members, posts, messages and so on have been preserved.
To summarize the main changes:
- Completely new layout with full mobile support.
- Major structural changes to be more reliable and allow new additions.
- Improved, richer player profiles.
- Post syntax now accepts Markdown on top of BBCode.
- Modern conveniences like logging in by email address.
There's a lot more, so please read on for the full details!
The first and foremost goal of this major update was to refresh the visuals. The older format worked, but didn't match with modern expectations and didn't scale at all. On mobile and 4K screens, fonts would all adopt different sizes, seemingly at random, and navigation menus were hard to hit. The objective here was to get something refreshed, modernised, easier to use and with proper better mobile compatibility. I still have some tuning to do here and there, but the overall picture matches my vision on design.
This is not to say that it was only a coat of paint that I applied to an aging codebase. I used the opportunity to rewrite entire functionalities to modernize them and open up new possibilities. As I was telling myself at the time, I broke the system's spine and built a new one. Most notably, everything related to dates has been rewritten from scratch. You can now go into your profile to select your local timezone instead of providing an offset, and the times displayed all over the place will match your local settings, even according the Daylight Savings.
The Minecraft player profiles have received a huge overhaul, with a much better presentation and new information being made available. One such element is the new Skulltulas tracker: you can see which of the 100 Skulltulas scattered across the Lost Woods you've found so far, with the data being displayed in near real-time. More like this will be added in the coming weeks and months!
Forum posts can now be written using the Markdown syntax, which is the one that you might be already familiar with from Discord, Reddit, GitHub and others. This is an addition on top of the existing BBCode syntax and allows you to quickly get some formatting in without fussing around with overly complicated syntax. You can select on each of your posts if it should be formatted using Markdown + BBCode, BBCode only, or nothing at all. You can also set a personal default in your user profile so you don't need to change this all the time.
The registration process has been streamlined, helping to bring new faces in more quickly with less noise getting in the way. The Minecraft username can be specified directly when registering, simplifying the whitelisting process, and people now have the option to register for the newsletter right away too. Part of this went live a few months back; it was lifted from this version and made available on the older one for the sake of welcoming new players more easily.
Speaking of the registration, new fields have been added on the Networks page. All the games that are covered on the Interordi network, including those in the off-site group, are now listed. While there's no direct purpose for these right now, like adding your Minecraft username to whitelist you on the servers, I still suggest that you do it for any game that applies to you. It tells potential players that you're involved, and new features are planned down the line!
A new default theme is available: Interordi, in shades of white and green, based on the upcoming remodel of the main Interordi website. For those who want alternatives, don't worry as two more are coming within days. These new additions are: Mega Man, the classic all blue many of you are familiar with; and Neon Dark as the obligatory dark theme, enhanced with glowing hues. You'll find all these by going to edit your display preferences in your profile.
Among more minor elements:
- The private messenger no longer opens in a new window: this makes it consistent with the behavior of the rest of the forums and works better on mobile devices.
- The views counter on topics has been removed, it got inaccurate quickly as it also included search engine hits.
- Post signatures now have an enforced height of 200 pixels.
- Logins are possible by username or email address (make sure the latter is valid in your profile!).
- The list of unread topics is saved to your profile instead of using cookies, so the same topics will have the same status on matter which device you use.
- Uploading images won't ask you to set their dimensions, that's handled automatically.
Our forum game, Cyber Grid is temporarily disabled while its layout is being rebuilt in the same way as the rest of the forums. I didn't want to wait for that to be completed considering how little traffic it currently gets. I'll first see to any further tuning and improvements that the core forums need, then I'll move on to that. For more information, please see my latest post in the Game Log!
There are multiple minor changes and quality-of-life improvements all over the place, I hope that some of these will please you!
Now, you might be wondering what to do next:
- Go to Edit your profile and set your proper timezone!
- While you're there, try out a new forum skin... as soon as they're available!
- Go to your networks and add any missing account names to unlock features in the future!