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Hi all. I'm Jin and I'll be working on the designs for the Stack Exchange sites as they graduate from the beta phase. Each site will have its own unique theme that will reflects its topic. However, all sites will share quite a bit of common elements so they feel like they're part of the Stack Exchange family.

After studying the type of questions on the site, I realized that Game Dev is such a broad field! It's more than just programming or graphics. It's a combination of both and so much more. My initial ideas were to have the design mimic the 3d modeling software interface, or programming tool's IDE UI(gray, technical etc). After talking to some friends who work in the industry, they informed me that they actually don't like the UI of their tools. What one friend said really inspired me, to quote him:

Programmers think they are artists and fine craftsmen, and I think that Game Devs are even more so. It’s not a cold, technical job. It’s a vibrant, living work of art.

I visited many game programming and art sites out there for design ideas. Unfortunately, most of them are rather poorly designed php bulletin boards. Luckily, I found some good inspirations in gaming magazines. The design goal is to keep the site structure you're familiar with, but adding a graphical "shell" to it that reflects the vibrancy of game development. The design should be inviting to new users who are interested in Game Dev, and in long term it should fade in the background as a "pleasant noise."

Design

alt text

click image above to see full res version.

I wanted the header area to be eye-catching, to offset an otherwise rather simple site. I think a CGed graphical header works here. I rendered the scene Cloud City from Bryce. The polygon fading to full render symbolizes conception to delivery.

In the background is a subtle engineering paper pattern. Game dev is just as technical than it is artistic, if not more.

Logo

I'm inspired by the logo Sean James came up with. I like the idea of having RGB in the logo, since they're the basic building blocks of anything graphical. Building blocks is the message I'm going after in the logo. I also like the hexgon shapes since they remind me of gaming magazines visuals as long as I can remember. You will see several occurrences of it through out the site. I'm using it on accepted answer background, tags and badges.

Feedback

I believe this design direction works very well for the Game Dev site. It provides a good balance of eye-candy and content. It adds new elements to the site while keeping the familiar structure. If you have feedbacks on specific details, please let me know!

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    \$\begingroup\$ I really like the cube/hex theme! \$\endgroup\$ – C. Ross Oct 20 '10 at 16:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Funny, I was just showing the site to some other game developers and some minutes later, the thing looks completely different. Looks great though. \$\endgroup\$ – bummzack Oct 21 '10 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Jin, great work! May be .nav { font-size:13px; } would look better? \$\endgroup\$ – topright Oct 21 '10 at 21:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @topright, ha you're the first one ever to request a DECREASE in font size. I agree with you, 13px looks better to me aesthetically. will put the change in soon. \$\endgroup\$ – Jin Oct 22 '10 at 4:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jin, thank you. :) \$\endgroup\$ – topright Oct 22 '10 at 11:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just wanted to say that I loved the new theme. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – egarcia Oct 25 '10 at 10:23
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My only feedback is that I don't think the "Ask question" button is prominent enough. It doesn't really look like a button.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ would it be better if I left align it with the rest of the top nav links? \$\endgroup\$ – Jin Oct 20 '10 at 16:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm just looking at some of the other sites done so far. Webapps has a bright orange button. Gaming/Ubuntu has a button that's offset from the rest of the nav links. Most of the other sites' nav links are in individual boxes instead of just text on a solid background. I'm not a designer, but if I were to guess what would feel better I would probably do something like ubuntu/gaming and put it off the nav link bar. Maybe put some button-y graphic around it and make it stand out. Probably with that maroon background color you're using for the tag buttons? \$\endgroup\$ – Tetrad Oct 20 '10 at 16:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ i think i'll add a background color to it to make it more prominent. thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Jin Oct 20 '10 at 16:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jin: utterly well done. we're lucky to have you <3 \$\endgroup\$ – Stefan Monov Oct 22 '10 at 15:18
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Wow, this is really good.

There is one thing i am concerned about: How do visited links look? On askubuntu they are more eye catching than new links.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ i typically use a more muted shade of color for visited links (for question lists and post body links). normally i tweak that too, after the site is launched based on user feedbacks. \$\endgroup\$ – Jin Oct 20 '10 at 21:57
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I love the design. It is by far my favourite from any of the stackexchange sites. Programmers strive to have a place of their own where they can feel that they're home while working. Now we've been given another such place for when our minds need input from others.

It's very inviting with its cousy and warm feeling.

Thanks!

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Looking pretty good! My only comment would be that on my monitor the pink that's being used for 'questions that have your interesting tags' is almost invisible - I have to shift where I'm sitting to see it. Any chance of darkening it a little bit?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ it's supposed to be a light tanned color not pink. but in any case, I know some older LCD monitors won't display faint colors correctly, so I will darken it some. thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Jin Oct 22 '10 at 5:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ahh, yeah, I really couldn't tell since it was so faint, but thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – daestwen Oct 22 '10 at 11:57
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I would like that the header area image make people remember games. The image you chose can be a 3d art for any type of application, including games. I just want to make it more specific. You can choose a PacMan-styled theme, or even Mario.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I wanted to focus on the "Development" part instead of "Gaming." I have used what you suggested for our actual gaming site. see gaming.stackexchange.com Although I'm open for the idea for using some profession game dev/artists work instead of what I did. \$\endgroup\$ – Jin Oct 30 '10 at 16:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ For what it's worth, I highly prefer the gamedev design to the gaming design. \$\endgroup\$ – Raven Dreamer Nov 6 '10 at 1:06

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