An Inspirational New Campaign

arsheesh
arsheesh
edited September 2011 in General Discussion
The faces and names of the Obsidian Portal forums community have changed somewhat over the years as older members have retired their campaigns and gone on to other projects and new members have come on board to carry the torch. However one name that some of those of you who are newer to the Portal (and looking for inspiration) should get to know better is "Duskreign":http://www.obsidianportal.com/profile/Duskreign. You may have already seen Dusk's legendary "Wyrmshadow's Campaign":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/wyrmshadow , which is ranked fairly high in popularity over in the campaigns tab, and which got last year's campaign of the year award. However Dusk has also authored a few other sites that have been truly innovative in their use of HTML as well as in their graphical layout.

Due to certain responsibilities Dusk has not been as active at the OP over the last year or so, but I'm writing this "OP Editorial" of sorts to draw the forum community's attention to a new campaign site that Dusk is currently launching called the "Duskreign Prophecy":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/duskreignprophecy. Now again, this site is still in the initial stages, with many pages yet to be created. But what immediately struck me about the site was it's cleanness and simplicity of design. Allot of campaign pages I've seen tend to be fairly "busy" and for that reason, distracting. However in his new site Dusk has created a very simple and elegant interface and has been parsimonious in his use of images and text, selecting only those objects that fit well within his overall design. Dusk has even implemented his own unique "character sheet":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/duskreignprophecy/wikis/drogyn-martok which preserves the aesthetic of the overall site. All in all, this is one of the freshest and most innovative sites that I've seen come out of the Obsidian Portal for some time and I hope that is serves as a source of inspiration for those of you searching for inspiration in creating or refining your own sites.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh
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Comments

  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    Wow. Arsheesh, I don't know what to say. I have wanted for so long to return to my home on the Internet, but a series of unfortunate events (of the non-Lemony Snicket variety) forced me to concentrate my thoughts elsewhere. I have never stopped gaming, though, and I have had in mind for some time the ideas that are now springing forth in my new campaign page. I was tempted to keep it hidden away, so that my renewed interest in putting together a wiki would not be perceived poorly. It is, however, great to know that someone whose opinions I have so often relied upon in the past, the venerable Arsheesh, has looked upon what I have started and nodded his approval. I've ever been fond of you and your way with words, as well as your lovely campaign sites and deft mapmaking abilities, but more than that, I cherish your respect and friendship.

    Thank you, Arsheesh. Folks like you, DarkMagus, Rase Cidraen, Sandman, and so very, very many others were what made my time away from Obsidian Portal so difficult to bear.

    "Duskreign":http://www.obsidianportal.com/profile/Duskreign

    "Wyrmshadow:The Duskreign Prophecy":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/duskreignprophecy

    "Wyrmshadow Campaign Setting":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/wyrmshadow

    "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/star-wars-knights-of-the-old-republic

    "The System":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/system
  • Baalshamon
    Baalshamon
    Posts: 585
    arsheesh, thanks for pointing this one out. I might have missed it for a while had you not made the post and it is looking to be quite nice.

    Duskreign, I wish I had half the know how for making a page look good. Great formatting and content as well. I was already a big fan of the Star Wars Campaign of which I plan to reuse some of your ideas in my Star Trek Campaign. So let me say, welcome back and this time I hope you can stick around and not get caught up in too much RL stuff.
  • Sommerset
    Sommerset
    Posts: 32
    Definitely, new campaign looks good!
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,966 edited September 2011
    One of the things that I thought was always undersold on Duskreign's previous sites, because they were so lush and beautiful, was he is an excellent writer. My favorite early line in "Duskreign Prophecy":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/duskreignprophecy is "Bron is a fun-loving, yet ultimately quite annoying young man." It is simple, but creates a clear picture.

    killervp
    "A God...Rebuilt":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/a-god-rebuilt
    Post edited by GamingMegaverse on

    Just trying to help out.

  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    Thanks, Killervp. Writing is really the most satisfying and frustrating thing I do. I pore over every letter and punctuation, pour my heart into each and every sentence, but practically no one will ever read anything I write. When I draw, I get a lot of respect for it because the appreciation is immediate. You can glance at a picture and know whether or not you like it. Reading takes effort, even if only a pittance of it.

    It really helps when people like you put in that effort, take a little time, and let me know that you like what you saw there. I am more flattered and humbled by a genuine compliment about my writing than I've ever been about a passing 'that's nice' about something I drew.

    Thanks again, man. I'm pretty proud of what I've got going on on this page so far. I did some work on the "history pages":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/duskreignprophecy/wikis/history-creation last night, messed with the timeline navigation (something I was never satisfied with in the other wikis), and tonight, I'm determined to get closer to finishing all the NPC profiles.

    You guys are the best. I love Obsidian Portal, and I'm so glad to be back doing what I most enjoy.

    - Mike
  • arsheesh
    arsheesh
    Posts: 850
    Hey don't mention it Dusk, Stephen, it was just such a great new layout (and of course, top notch content) that I thought it warranted a plug. Also, I saw those history pages you mentioned... yeah AWESOME!

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    Yeah, I am pretty happy with the navigation for the timeline. I am kicking myself for not thinking of that sooner.

    I am contemplating switching up the layout of the actual information that flows from beneath the timeline buttons. I want to make the information more palatable, while not skimping on any pertinent details. Also, the images I use... I am tempted to continue the 'red-black-and-white" theme, potentially by dropping some of the images to grayscale and highlighting certain elements in red for emphasis.

    What do you think? Any ideas you could share for building the rest of the page would be most welcome.

    Also, we have already run a substantial amount of backstory sessions, though the official campaign has not yet started. I was considering writing the backstory sessions up as logs under the 'prologue' heading. I want there to be something on every page that is worth checking out.

    - Mike
  • Baalshamon
    Baalshamon
    Posts: 585
    Mike, a prologue for the story adds a great element to the whole. It also wets the appetite for the story to come. If it was me I would definately do the prologue. As for your timeline, I am real interested in how you coded it. I have a detailed timeline spanning 400 years and a simular element might be nice to add to my campaign.

    -Steve
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    If you want, I could send you a private message with the HTML I used for the timeline nav buttons.

    - Mike
  • HurstGM
    HurstGM
    Posts: 205
    Uh if i could get that too i would apprecate it. I love the timeline thing and was going to disect it but if your just sending it out that would be awesome. thanks!
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    ... apparently the coding doesn't jibe with the private messaging system on OP. So, here it is:

    You'll have to tweak the absolute positioning and change the images themselves to suit your needs, and each page of the timeline would have to have the hyperlinks tweaked to suit the purpose of that particular page. Alternatively, you could use the
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    LOL, Good thing the messaging system didn't work, HurstGM :P
  • HurstGM
    HurstGM
    Posts: 205
    yea thanks this is awesome
  • Baalshamon
    Baalshamon
    Posts: 585
    awesome, thankyou.

    I will play with it and see what we can come up with. My players will be psyched.
  • DarkMagus
    DarkMagus
    Posts: 425
    I'm a little late to this discussion, my first quarter in grad school started. Aside from classes I'm also TA-ing a class, so all of a sudden I'm just very busy. Anyways, Dusk this looks great, the time line is especially awesome. Keep up the good work!

    DarkMagus
  • arsheesh
    arsheesh
    Posts: 850
    Hey DM, I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering how Grad school was going. Good to see you at the forums again, even if only briefly.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    Thanks, DM. I missed ya, buddy

    - Mike
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,966
    The timeline is really, really cool....

    Just trying to help out.

  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    I kind of copy/pasted the history text from my campaign setting wiki up through 1000 years ago, and that was a cop-out. I've since written backwards chronologically from present day to fill in the blanks, and I intend on re-formatting the data from the previous campaigns to reflect that same style of writing. I am going to focus more on simplicity and consistency in this campaign. I chalk it up to lessons learned from my Star Wars wiki.

    Thanks, KillerVP!

    - Mike
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    I was hoping to get some feedback on "this.":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/duskreignprophecy/wikis/cultures-nations-civilizations
  • Baalshamon
    Baalshamon
    Posts: 585
    Mike that is looking real good so far.
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    Thanks. Stephen. I ran the final backstory session of the game tonight. This week, I am going to write up a synopsis of the backstory and place it in the Chronicles section as a prologue in anticipation of the official campaign start date of next Friday.

    Thanks for all your encouragement and input!

    - Mike
  • arsheesh
    arsheesh
    Posts: 850
    Hm, well, it's a toss up. On the one hand, the new menu tabs are more visible (which enhance the ease of user interface), and fit in well with the color scheme and typography of the rest of your site. But on the other hand the previous layout had a very simple elegance and color balance that I'm not sure is as well preserved with the new icons. By that I mean that before, the whole window was white except for your Avatar icon and the images you used. This seamless layout helped the eye to flow over the entirety of your page in a smooth unbroken fashion, and served to highlight those few splashes of color that laid therein. Too much (and to bold) color breaks up this smooth layout, and reorients the readers attention to (in this case) the bold bright menu tabs. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; if you have a really detailed, info rich site then highlighting your main menu tabs might be the right choice. So it all just depends on what you plan on doing with the site. That said, I must confess that I personally am more attracted to your previous layout. My 2c.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085 edited October 2011
    Do you think simple text-based navigation at the top of the page would be more appropriate? Or are you suggesting that I subdue the navigation buttons to something less flashy? Perhaps something more reminiscent of the navigation buttons on the timeline?

    EDIT: "Something like this?":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/duskreignprophecy/wiki_pages/cultures-nations-civilizations
    Post edited by Duskreign on
  • arsheesh
    arsheesh
    Posts: 850
    Well again, it sort of depends on what you plan on doing with the site. When I initially saw it, it mainly consisted of a handful of pages, and I think the simple text-based navigation worked really well for the site. Now if you intend to add allot more pages then a more prominent navigation menu (that divides the banner from the rest of the window) would probably be apt since it gives the readers a clear picture of the site's overall structure, it's _main_ features that is.

    It's all about how you want to define the space. To use an architectural analogy, before your site was operating on sort of an "open floor plan"; there weren't allot of dividing walls so when you first walked through the door the site felt like it was wide open and spacious. Now, by creating a more prominent navigation menu, and moreover, by placing this in between the site banner and the main window, you've now erected a dividing wall that clearly defines the two sections of your house. As I mentioned earlier, there is absolutely nothing wrong with such a partition: it's up to you how you want to define the space of your site. But good layouts are well thought out, and purposeful in their use of space (both negative and positive); there is usually some end goal in mind. So rather than telling you what you should do (which I have no business doing), I'd just recommend considering what kind of look and feel you are going for, and whether or not an "open" floor plan or a more traditional "walled" floor plan is better suited to that end.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085 edited October 2011
    If I don't do something to divide the information up, it will be a jumbled mess in the middle of that big open floor plan.

    Here is the data I intend to place on this wiki (or that I have already)

    *Home Page*

    *Introduction Page (introduces people unfamiliar with Wyrmshadow to the game)*

    *Characters*

    * PC's
    * NPC's

    *Chronicles*

    * Previously... (a synopsis of all the story that took place prior to the beginning of the last chapter (each chapter is going to be a 3-4 session story arc). It will act as an archive of the older sessions in order to keep the fresh stuff up front while preventing the older stuff from being buried behind too many pages of more recent sessions)
    * Our Recent Exploits... (the most recent 1-4 sessions, i.e the chapter of the game that is currently being run)

    *Geography & Cosmology*

    * An Interactive Atlas of Wyrmshadow (a full map of the world, which I am currently working on. Every place name will be clickable to display a region map with a list of pertinent data below it)
    * The Cosmos (essentially the same as "this page":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/wyrmshadow/wikis/wyrmshadow-cosmology on my main Wyrmshadow wiki, but with data more pertinent to the current campaign)
    Cultures, Nations, & Civilizations
    * Races (you can already see that this is meant for)
    * Cultures (The Emerald Order, the Luminati, the Imperian Armored Forces, the Kunai Clan, the Ebon League, etc... Essentially a place to see the different cultures that have a stake in the current story)
    * Civilizations (The Kingdoms of the Undertide, the Northern Prairie-folk, etc... A description of mostly the innocent bystanders in the whole mess, those who are unaffiliated or have no ruling class, so aren't technically 'nations' per se... though an argument could be made for making this section a part of the Cultures or Nations, wherever appropriate)
    * Nations (Imperia, Freel, Shidima, Quae Elfien, etc... this section could be migrated to the Geography section, as I think of it now.)
    * Religions (The Elder Gods, the Lesser Gods, the Gnostics, the Animists, etc... Pretty self-explanatory, and I think pretty necessary.)

    *History & Chronology*

    * Timeline of Events (Scrapped this in favor of a navigation scheme at the top of the page)
    * Separate Eras: 0-50 years ago, 50-100, 100-500, 500-1000, etc...)

    I can certainly simplify this a bit to make it more of an open set-up, but I don't know how to do that while preventing information from being jumbled together. I suppose I could re-think my top banner, add a few more choices there to diminish the secondary layer of navigation on the Cultures, Nations, & Civilizations page.

    Incidentally, you most certainly do have business telling me what I _should_ do. When you make a suggestion, anyone here would be a fool not to at least give it some serious consideration.

    - Mike
    Post edited by Duskreign on
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    I was going to add this to the previous post, but I thought again about it. It would have gotten lost in the text.

    "If I made this my banner, it might resolve all the conflicting concerns you and I both had.":http://cdn.obsidianportal.com/assets/76376/DRPWIKICHRONICLESv2.png

    What do you think?

    - Mike
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,966
    Really like the banner!!

    Just trying to help out.

  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085 edited October 2011
    I do, too. I am going to give it a little more thought before committing to it, though. Changing the banner on every page of the wiki is a tiresome endeavor, so I'd rather not approach that task more than once.

    I am considering making a link to leave comments, but I might just do that as an image at the bottom of every page of the wiki. The problem I have with the comments page is that I can't use my custom banner for that page, so I may just forgo the whole thing.

    Anything else you think would work well on the site?

    - Mike

    PS - Thanks, KillerVP!

    *EDIT* - "Here is a test page I made of a new version of the home page using the new banner.":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/duskreignprophecy/wikis/test-page I think this might be the best solution to satisfy every need...

    *RE-EDIT* - I made up my mind. I'm -keepin ma baybay- going with the new banner.

    *RE-RE-RE-EDIT* - When you guys get a chance, "check this out":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/duskreignprophecy and let me know what you think. I am pretty happy with the compromise, and I like that the campaign's logo is centered instead of justified to the left.
    Post edited by Duskreign on
  • Baalshamon
    Baalshamon
    Posts: 585
    It looks very nice. What are you using to make the banner? Gimp, Photoshop, something else?
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