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RPGFan Community Quiz!
Subject: Persona 3: FES
Prize: $20 eShop, PSN or Steam code
Date: 3rd October 2014 Time: 16:00 EST
331482 Posts in 13573 Topics by 2191 Members
Latest Member: Zaltys
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16  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / Re: new site layout/design on: April 13, 2009, 10:40:25 PM
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I feel like every bit of possible space is being filled with something, and it's a bit overbearing.

You must really hate the design of IGN.com then.  I don't think I've ever seen as much content shoved into a page with no space to breath whatsoever! :)

As for the Firefox VS IE thing.  I really don't understand.  I have both and the page looks almost identical on both.  I don't have that "text rubbing off against the edge" that you guys are talking about and I also don't understand why Dyne doesn't have the green background on the navbar or why he has a conflict with the staff link and the search bar.  I get none of those problems in my Firefox.  Can you guys let me know what version of the browser you're using and maybe post a picture of what you're seeing, it would help us to figure this thing out.
17  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / Re: new site layout/design on: April 13, 2009, 05:34:06 PM
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The only thing I find fault with is small: in the navigation bar near the top of the page, there's no space between the "Staff" link and the search bar. Is that just my browser?

Yeah, definitely a browser issue.  We tested with Firefox, Safari, IE7 and IE6 and it seemed to work on all of them.  As John said, let us know what browser you're using and what OS and we'll try to see what's wrong.
18  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / Re: new site layout/design on: April 13, 2009, 05:30:59 PM

This is not an all-or-nothing proposition, though. We're suggesting ways of improving the quality as it is. First off, I don't really have any problem with the ad position or size, and I'm guessing that's where your financial problems are. The problem isn't the ad part it's the CONTENT and NAVIGATION portions that feel disjointed, not because of their size, but because of their layout and lack of guttering. The way "space" is distrubuted throughout the page is very disjointed. It's not too much, it's not too little, it's just not very well constructed. This has nothing to do with the balance of ads, navigation and content, but their formatting.

Secondly, redesigning a site shouldn't be any harder than redesigning a page if the webdesigner is doing his job right and using a combination of CSS and Dynamic XHTML. Navbars should be stored in separate pages so that updating one document will update the entire site. Colors and formating should be cast in CSS, so adding things like padding and changing layout should be a fairly simple job. This is precisely why CSS was invented.

I'm happy that you guys have saved RPGFan, however.

Yeah, as I said, my post was only refering to people who complain about ads and a few other things, it wasn't meant for everybody's comments.

Now, as far as the issues you're mentioning is concerned, I'll let Mike answer that since he's more knowledgeable about these things.  However, one thing I'd like to tackle is your "redesigning a site shouldn't be any harder than redesigning a page if the webdesigner is doing his job right" comment.   Yes, I agree with you on that front, for recent websites.  But the problem here is that you have to remember that RPGFan was created 11 years ago.  Techniques like these weren't invented or weren't really used much back in those days.  By the time these techniques were common knowledge, RPGFan was already a site of more than 10,000 HTML pages and we did not exactly have the time or manpower to go around to changing everything.  We always had to work with existing pages and existing designs.  Over the years, we've been able to incorporate a lot of SSI, CSS and CGI scripts into RPGFan but the site isn't completely done that way.  The "shell" itself which includes the navbar, the top and the bottom can easily be changed since they are "includes" but the "content" itself, the part that changes on every page, this is all hardcoded (except for CSS stuff in some places).  Sometimes, this part isn't easy to fit well with the outer shell.  But once again, Mike can shed more light on that if he wants to.

As for RPGFan being saved, that's not exactly the case, it'll never exactly be "saved".  Every time, we just find ways to extend its life for a little bit until the next crisis.  Right now, we're trying to make things better by changing the site and adding much-needed new ad space for our advertisers but there's no way to tell if we'll be successful in finding advertisers.  But, at least we're still trying and still have some life left in us. :)
19  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / Re: new site layout/design on: April 13, 2009, 05:08:26 PM
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I liked the side navigation bar, and I thought the page didn't load right when I didn't see it there the first time.  Speaking strictly from a functional point of view, clear navigation is the most important aspect of a front page (for a user).  The old navigation bar worked very well in that regard.  As it is now, navigation is semi-hidden, and stands out less than the daily topics.

Well, the problem is that we needed horizontal space so we HAD to get rid of the vertical navigation because it was taking too much space.  Nowadays, almost all websites are designed with the navigation at the top.  Take a look at IGN, Gamespot and most of the other big websites.  Navigation is often at the top.  This allows for more space to fit stuff horizontally on the rest of the page below.  In our case, it was essential to free that space in order to have that all-important 300x250 ad in its current place.  Also, as I said, top navigation is becoming more and more the standard now.
20  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / Re: new site layout/design on: April 13, 2009, 10:48:16 AM
I know I'm probably not going to be very popular with this answer but it's very easy to complain about something when you don't have all the information behind the decisions being made.  Given the fact that just a week ago, there was a good chance that RPGFan would have to close entirely for many reasons that I'm not going to explain here, it's nothing short of a miracle that Mike was able to go from absolutely nothing to a complete implementation of a new design in about a week (while still working a regular job) in order to try and help the site survive.  You also have to take into account that we don't have the manpower to redesign every single page of the website so Mike has to work on making a new design while ensuring that the current pages fit within the design without having to go and change them all individually.  Not an easy task.  I know people will bitch about the ads, that's inevitable.  In the more than 10 years of RPGFan, we've been one of the sites with the least amount of ads you can find.  I've always hated ads and although we could have made money in the past by putting tons of ads on the site, making money was not our goal and all we wanted to do was make just enough money to survive and pay the server bills.  Profit has never been RPGFan's goal.

So basically, we willingly decided not to make money from this site in order for YOU GUYS being able to browse the site relatively ad-free.  Now that we're in desperate need of money to survive, we don't have a choice but to increase the amount of ads.  The only other solution is closing the site down completely.  If you guys think closing down the site is a better option, then fine, we'll do that.  If not, then I don't want to hear people bitching about the ads.  Given the fact that nobody on this site ever gets rewarded with a single penny and work their ass off on their spare time to bring content to RPGFan, I don't think having ads to ensure that you guys still have a website to visit is that much of a problem.  Is it?  Just look around on the internet.  Every other website out there have TONS of ads all over their site, some incredibly intrusive and annoying.  In this day and age, it's a necessity, we really don't have a choice.  We're trying our best to keep the ads at a minimum.  Just barely enough to survive is what we're aiming at.  If things go well, we might look to eliminate that Soundtacks ad next to the RPGFan logo.  That's always a possibility.  However, right now we'll wait a bit to see if that's feasible or not financially.

Now, keep in mind that I'm not saying people aren't allowed to comment on the new design.  We certainly welcome any constructive criticism and suggestions (like some of you have done) but just saying: "I like the old design better, can you put it back" serves no purpose.  It's not possible to keep the old design, I liked it too but it's not viable in today's market and restricts us too much in the stuff we need to do on the site.  Also, as much as I think it "looked" good, it was pretty outdated and needed to be changed after 6 years.  I think Mike did a great job with this design, Yeah, some things could look better but as I explained, without the ability to change every page on the site and having to keep the current older page design for every page, he is stuck having to design only an "outer shell".  If given the opportunity to create an entire design from scratch, Mike could do some amazing stuff but right now, he's stuck having to work with a ton of restrictions.  To be honest, I think the site looks pretty good right now and we'll be working on changing more stuff in the future too.
21  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: The RPG towns thread on: April 01, 2009, 10:24:49 PM
Good thread Neal!  I've always been a sucker for towns and villages in RPGs.  Most of the time, what I like about a town is the "feel" of it.  I also love a town with nice soothing music.

- The snow covered city of Baroque from Eternal Sonata had a nice Christmas feel to it and the music and graphics were amazing!

- The first village in Chrono Cross.  Loved the laidback feel of the village with the relaxing music and the beach setting.

- A lot of the villages in the 2 Lunar games (Sega CD or PlayStation), especially Burg.  I love the quaint atmosphere of the village and the music.

- Skies of Arcadia also comes to mind.  The towns and villages were very interesting.  Horteka was a pretty interesting village in the trees with the tribal music.

So many others I could list but I'll stop now cause I could spend all night listing them! :)
22  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Best RPG of Last Generation? on: March 09, 2009, 09:37:13 PM
I know a lot of people will ask why this game didn't make it or why this other game was included, etc..  You guys have to remember that there's no easy way to make a Top 10 list like this.  There's a lot of editors on RPGFan and obviously we don't all agree on the merits of every RPG.  Also, not every editor on RPGFan has played every RPG ever released.  As such, it's certainly possible that a really good game just didn't get played by enough editors to get enough votes.  It's that simple.  For this feature, we decided to assign points to the various positions on each editor's Top 5 list and this is the results it came to.  Obviously this is not an ideal way of doing it but the problem is that there is no ideal way of doing it.  No matter what system we use, it's impossible to get results that will please everybody.  You also can't forget that the results were extremely close.  If we had put the feature up a month ago, Dragon Quest VIII and Kotor would have ended up No.1 and 2 instead of Persona 3 and Final Fantasy X.  The list just changed dramatically with the addition of 2 more editors submitting their votes in the last month.  I'm sure that if 1 or 2 more editors had voted, things would have changed once again.  That's how close it was.

Also, don't forget that editors at RPGFan come and go.  If you look at our past reviews, you'd notice for instance that Skies of Arcadia (which a lot of you mentioned in this thread) was reviewed 8 times by editors of RPGFan and pretty much all of them gave it really high scores.  Why wasn't it higher on this list?  Well, it just happens that almost every editor who wrote those reviews are now gone from the RPGFan staff.  Why does the Persona series rank so high on most of our lists (Games of the Year and this one)?  It's simple... it just so happens that right now, there's a lot of Persona fans on the RPGFan staff at the moment.  It's possible that in the next year, we could hire 2 editors who just happen to hate Persona and be big fans of another series instead.  Then, our awards would end up looking different.  It's that simple guys!  Look at Suikoden V for instance.  One of our current editor reviewed the game and gave it 95%.  He's a big fan of this game.  But this editor did not end up participating in this feature so as such, Suikoden V gets less points than if he WOULD have participated.  That's all!  You have to look at this Top 10 list as a Top 10 list at a certain moment in time by a particular staff in time.  You can't take this as if we're claiming that this is THE list and that it reflects the opinions of everybody who has ever worked on RPGFan or that it's best list ever made!  This is just our best effort to try and make a list based on the tastes and opinions of the current staff, that's all.  Love it or hate it, that's all this is and everybody is entitled to agree or disagree with the results.  After all, most of the RPGFan staff disagree with the results themselves because it's not THEIR results, it's a COMBINED result of every staffer's individual opinions which means that everybody will see a game in there that they don't like or a game they like not being included, etc.  That's life! :)
23  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Lost Odyssey on: March 15, 2008, 05:10:50 PM
Gotta agree with the VGChartz comments.  I've been checking their "data" for a year now and they are often "off" on their sales data.  When the NPD data comes out, VGChartz often compares their data with the official NPD data and you can see that they sometimes overshoot or undershoot in their predictions.  To be honest, I think anybody with a good knowledge of the industry could make the same kind of predictions that VGChartz make.  Most of the time it's pretty easy to figure out the sales data by looking at previous months and taking into account whether a high-profile game gets released or not for the system as well as any changes in prices, etc...

But anyway, the reason I wanted to comment here is that we'll soon have 2 more reviews of Lost Odyssey on RPGFan so I wanted to warn you guys since you all seem to love discussing the original review Damian did.  Can't wait to see the discussions after the other 2 reviews :).
24  Site Related & More / RPGFan: The Site / Holy Shit.....TEN YEARS!? on: January 14, 2008, 07:17:44 PM
Thanks guys!  And by the way, this History of RPGFan article has been on the site for 6 years, it's just been tucked away in the features section where nobody ever looks so I felt like the 10th anniversary was a good time to bring it back up.  Too bad I didn't really keep track of the last 6 years as much as the first 4 because I could have continued the article to cover the rest.  Then again, the last 6 years haven't been as interesting as the first 4 since we settled into a rythm and things have settled down.

And yeah, after the "boycott" from Vic, Working Designs never really came out with anything interesting after that so we didn't lose out.
25  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Help suggest Games like DQ8 on: November 19, 2007, 08:30:52 AM
Dragon Quest VIII was one of my favorite RPG so we may have the same taste in RPGs.  As such, I would suggest Skies of Arcadia Legends on Gamecube (since you mentioned you had one).  It's turn-based, random encounters and is very traditional with a spirit of adventure akin to the DQ series with fun exploration of the overworld.  If you want something newer, Eternal Sonata on Xbox 360 could do the trick but it does have a mix of turn-based and action and isn't exactly in the same style as DQ8 but it does have awesome graphics and music.

Another RPG I enjoyed on PS2 was Suikoden 3.  The battles are turn-based but the game is very different in style and I enjoyed it quite a lot.
26  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Rumor: Skies of Arcadia sequel in the works. on: October 30, 2007, 12:28:01 PM
Well, put me on the list along with Prime, Grim and Degolas cause I LOVE Skies of Arcadia too.  I was always a Sega fan and a Nintendo hater and I loved Skies of Arcadia so much on Dreamcast that when it came out again on Gamecube, I BOUGHT a Gamecube!! A NINTENDO machine just to be able to play it again with some of the added stuff.

Skies of Arcadia is one of those games where the overall game is better than the sum of its parts.  There's just something special about the game, it's hard to really describe why.  The setting of the game is very different from the usual RPG since the overworld takes place in the sky, the music is great, the graphics are good but the best part is that the sense of "adventure" is really captured well.  I've always prefered the more "adventurous" and "happy" protagonists like Vyse from Eternal Arcadia, Hiro from Lunar 2 and Justin from Grandia rather than the dark, moody protagonists like Cloud from FF7 or Squall from FF8.

Obviously a sequel to Skies of Arcadia would be awesome but I get the feeling that Sega would screw it up once again just like they screwed 2 of my favorite series in Shining Force and Phantasy Star.

About the dynamic music, I also thought that was a great feature.  There's another thing that was done once but never recreated as far as I know.  The music from Phantasy Star III.  The overworld music progressively added more instruments to the music as you added more people to your party.  At first, the song is very basic with only one instrument but at the end when you have a full party, the music gets more complicated with 4 or 5 different instruments.  I thought that was really interesting how they did that but I've never seen that in any other game afterwards.
27  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Eternal Sonata (aka pretension sucks!) on: October 12, 2007, 08:53:07 AM
Guys, remember that opinions are opinions.  Just because one person doesn't like the game doesn't mean that you should all give up on it and start crapping on it.  I'm not saying I completely disagree with Damian because he made some good points on his review and it IS his opinion so it's definitely not "wrong".  But just keep in mind that a lot of other people have loved the game so it's not exactly the "crapfest" that you guys make it out to be.  I just hate seing the words "piece of sh*t" and "crap" associated with a game that in my opinion doesn't deserve it.  It might not be the best RPG ever made but it's not "crap".  "Crap" should only be reserved for RPGs like Ephemeral Fantasia and Evergrace for example :).

To offer a counterpoint, here's what I think of the game:

After reading Damian's review of the game, I have to say that I agree with almost everything he wrote in there, but somehow I came away with a very different overall feeling about the game than he did. My main point of contention is the graphics. Personally, I thought the graphics were amazing. Although it may not have the best graphics on a technical level (compared to Gears of War, Oblivion and Bioshock), the amount of intricate details and artistic design more than makes up for it. Villages, houses, caves, swamps, forests, plains are all filled with so much details, so much colors that it really is a graphical overload for your senses. To me, Eternal Sonata has the best graphics I've ever seen in an RPG.  One of my favorite moment was the city of Baroque with the snow everywhere.  I never thought a snow-filled city could look so colorful and gorgeous.  Even if all the enemies in the game are pallette-swaped, it still doesn't change the fact that overall, it's still a gorgeous game to look at.

Overall, Eternal Sonata is not the best RPG ever made and it has plenty of faults (as Damian mentionned in his review) but despite all that, I still had a lot of fun with the game because the good points like the graphics, music and battle system more than made up for those bad points.   Then again, it's all a matter of preferences.  Personally, I've always liked RPGs with great art and great music and I don't mind an RPG that is very linear, kinda short and without a whole lot of sidequests.  As such, this game doesn't bug me that much.  Of course, the incredibly long sequences (way too long for nothing) are annoying sometimes but as I said, I was willing to go through them anyway because even though they were sometimes very boring, at least they were pretty and had great music :).

Also wanted to comment on the fact that many people say that all Sakuraba soundtracks sound the same.  I always had that feeling too, especially his first projects like Shining the Holy Ark, Shining Force III and a few others.  They all sounded the same!!  I could always hear music in a game and automatically tell that Sakuraba did the music.  However, I have to say that Sonata was a pleasant surprise for me because it didn't "sound" like typical Sakuraba.  I really enjoyed the music a whole lot in this game and it really made me appreciate a talent that I had never appreciated before.  Maybe I'll have to check out a few of his other work from more recent years.
28  The Rest / General Discussions / Staff members on: February 28, 2006, 05:59:23 PM
I'm here!  Mod me! As for the proof that I am really me:  "Mike you're fired!!!" :)
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