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How hard can it be? - Famous last words

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 Ok, for those of you who know, designing ANYTHING isn't always easy. For those of you who don't know, take heed these words.

Ok, for those of you who know, designing ANYTHING isn't always easy. For those of you who don't know, take heed these words.

 

After the fall of There.com, like you, I joined several virtual worlds looking for a replacement of our lost home. For the most part, I found it in Twinity.

Now this blog isn't to focus on the challenges of migrating everything you know from one virtual world to another, or even the pros and cons of meeting new people, forming new groups, and re-connecting with old ones.

This writing is for those who want to go above and beyond fandom of their chosen virtual world. Creating a FAN SITE... ( enter dramatic musical notes )

As you can see here at Thumdar, it is a very well put together site. Just know EVERYTHING you see here, even the smallest details took HOURS of work to perfect... even though most designers never believe their project truly perfect, or complete for that matter.

 

For Twinity, I wanted to create a site much like this one. Twinizen.com was to be my first, and will possibly be my last web developing project, and here's why.

In web design, there are many choices. You can hit the easy button, and pay a fortune for a professional to design the site for you. You can learn everything and do it yourself, or you can use a kit form. Any combination of these works well if you have the knowledge to assist.

I chose to hire a freshly graduated IT student for $35 an hour to design my site.

While he had designed several sleek looking sites, NONE were as complicated as what you see before you here. Here lies the problem. If you're going to pay the money, and be the "director" of a project, know who you hire AND their capabilities.

This student was a bit of a hippy. Not my cup of tea, but he was damn smart with computers. Being of a technical mind myself, we would converse over the application of, and tweaks of certain software systems, and hardware configurations, blah blah blah... I didn't talk about the important things enough. The project.

Somewhat of a package deal, most web designers use a CMS (Content Management System) for large amounts of content. There are options for this as well. You have the popular Joomla! , Drupal, and a handfull of others. Each having its own pro and con.

Of the CMS options, the hippy designer was familiar with only Drupal. Since I was not familiar with any web design, other than a bit of basic HTML, (old school, I know) I let him take the reigns of the project, only leading with graphics created for the "look" of the site from page to page.

The old Thumdar site is similar to what I was attempting, but with the facebook additions, and personal video blogs, etc. Nowhere near what Thumdar has done now.

Anyway, the concept designs were done, and the work began. I began modeling a "hood" within Twinity. The first 400x400 meter apartment within Twinity. It was called the Twinizen.com village. I literally designed it from the ground up.

 Within two months, Twinizen.com was born. The site was a little underwhelming upon open. There were no social interaction widgets, apps, etc as was expected. Hell there wasn't even a working messaging system (something I've since learned to be a challenge in Drupal 6.x). Only an email link to send complaints or questions existed.

So, I did what every distraught frugal person does in times of need. I pulled myself up by the bootstraps, and began to learn. I learned all the options of Drupal, it's limitations, and unfortunately, the limitations of my account through Hostgator. So, I upgraded to a higher, semi-dedicated server, and went to work upgrading the existing site, it's modules, and functionality.

The never released site had a shop, download section, videos, photo galleries, forums, Facebook connection (with messaging), and a streaming movie theater which played the movies inside of Twinity's client. it was too much, overloading the server with just 6 members logged in. Keep in mind, several months worth of novice work on my part were spent doing this just to end in failure.

In the end, I chose to shut the site down due to lack of funds, and just plain being burned out. Drupal takes a team of people to manage a large site. Every little entry must be watched and maintained. I have since learned Joomla is super easy in comparisson. 

Now is time to stick to blogging, and work more on designing and modeling. 

I should have listened to the first person I approached with this project.... Thumdar. I know he could have done it right the first time, and saved a lot of headaches! So, for your easy button, call him! :D

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Ok, Back online now, and I think everything is finally stabilizing. Seems like I was living in the center of a volcano there for a bit. Hope to see you all soon!

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