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Developing SimuScape

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Posted
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#62270 (In Topic #13555)
SAC
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Well-settled

...or that's the intention anyways...

Well, finally after a horrible year, (my life partner died from cancer almost a year ago), and the issues trying to get the upgrade to 5.0.1 to work, I'm ready to continue to make my site SimuScape ready for a public Grand Opening…

SimuScape is a "new" edition of former "Gothia", an old site I used to have dedicated to citybuilding games in general, and especially SimCity 2000 and SimCity 3000. The old site was built up using Frontpage since I lack any knowledge what-so-ever about website codings and that kind of stuff… Well, as time went by and Internet changed with new technology, I couldn't obviously continue with the old site and it's Frontpage construction. So I had to close it down. However, still the keeper of the largest world wide collection of SimCity 2000 graphics - amongst other things - I've been wanting for a long time to find a descent solution to come up with a new site.

The name SimuScape was chosen since my site - and my collections - aims towards just city/landscaping in a simulation way as is the case with games today. So Simulation along with city/landscaping became SimuScape. :lol:

While I could buy the domain and rather quickly find a good host for my new site, I had more problems figuring out how to actually come up with a site. But for some reasons I happened to stumble onto OcPortal while doing a search on google, and here I am. My knowledge hasn't improved though, so I still have to rely on whatever help I can receive from this community… :P

Below is attached an image of my current front side, Home, and how it is supposed to look - in parts anyways…

While I suck at coding, I can at least draw, so all the graphics, (header and stuff), is made by me. And as can tell I love a dark theme, spiced up with few bright colors… :lol:

Now to my initial questions, (referred to the same letter in yellow on the screen);

A) Zone Menu

I have gotten that far as to understand what I needed to change to get the color of choice, but I would like to replace those zone menu links with buttons instead. And rather than having the "dotted" underline letting me know where I am, I'd like to have a button for each link that is also highlighted when moused over - a highlight that is "on" for that particular zone, replacing the dotted underline…

How do I do this? Oh, and do note I'm quite stupid so explain properly… :lol:

B) Frontpage Image

When starting I had this "News Block" in place in between the two side blocks, but I quickly found out I could change things by using the Zone Editor. While the News Block is still in place, I, at the moment, have an image linked from my Photobucket account, and while it looks good on my computer, I noticed that when testing my site on a 2nd computer with a smaller screen resolution, (mine is 1280x960), it doesn't look good anymore. In a smaller screen resolution in Firefox, the image, (size 887X500), will push the right side panel away from the window, and it won't be accessible by the user. In IE the image is pushed down below the sidepanels instead, and THAT looks even more stupid…

What I want to ackomplish is the following;

I have checked online for the most common screen resolutions up to date, and have found that 1024x is the most common one, followed by 1280x - the latter being my own resolution. Should I go for a fixed width to get this "front" with my image to look the same no matter screen resolution and browser? Or is it possible to have the mid-section fixed only? I noticed that while my image was either pushed down, or pushed the right side panel away, the News Block beneath never stretched away in the same manor.

What to do, and more importantly; How To Do?

I also want this "image area" to have random images showing up, clickable and taking visitors to a specific place on my site… How To Do That? Another alternative would be to have the image only half the size, but with a text area next to it - making up for the same size as the image shown in the screen…

Keep in mind that I DO NOT wabnt any "boxes" surrounding the image/images. It needs to look exactly as the screen shows…

C) Side Panels

As with the Zone Menues described in A), I want to replace the Side panel menu descriptions, (i.e. features, content, community etc…), with an image instead, and have the usual text links below intact. How Do I Do That?

Oh, and one more thing; I'm using Firebug, but it's not always clear were to check for specific codes in the .css files… Firebug refer to a specific raw, but that doesn't match whatever I look for when checking my .css-files… I can't seem to follow all OCP tutorials either, because the codes doesn't seem to match a 100%… But again, I am stupid so… :lol:

Anyways, thanks in advance for any help I can receive… a LOT of people are waiting for SimuScape! They just don't know it yet!

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Posted
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#62285
SAC
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Well-settled

Just a note regarding the News Block on my front page...

I have a "member account" to be able to view my new site as any other regular member out there - once opened up, and noticed that members can "add news"! Well, that ain't gonna happen at all!

However, I've tried everything to remove that link from beneath the news block, but to no avail. I set a minus, (-), to the Specific-Permissions-Submissions, but that didn't do the trick! I also added the following code;

(block="14" filter="1-7")main_news(/block)

to replace this;

(block="14")main_news(/block)
although mine initially never included anything about a "block="14". It only said;

(block)main_news(/block)
I have no idea what that "14" means...

Nevertheless, this didn't work either! What do i do to remove the "Add News" link for everyone besides myself, (admin)?
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Posted
Rating:
#62286
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14 is 14 days.

The permissions thing should have worked, but you could also try removing view permission to the cms_news page in the cms zone.


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
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#62288
SAC
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Well-settled

Nope… didn't work either… the link is still there for normal members…  O_o
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Posted
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#62289
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What happens when a normal member clicks that link?


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
Rating:
#62290
SAC
Avatar

Well-settled

You can try yourself… the site is currently open to allow me to log on as a normal member… :P

What happens is that a member is taken to almost like an "admin zone", labelled Content Management Zone/Add News, and they can add news… :'(

Edit to add 1;

Actually, took an even closer look and they can also reach "Content Management", and I'm sure it's all great. But I don't want to allow that kind of personal freedom on SimuScape, simply as it's not that type of site I'm going to provide!

The only actual "freedom" they'll have apart from the normal profile settings, is the forum. I don't want to allow blogs, banners, clubs, personal galleries, links and whatnot provided to a member through this Content Management at all. It needs to be "turned off" if possible.

Edit to add ";

Took away all the view abilities from the Content Management Zone, and that seem to have taken care of this problem. The only thing the "Add News" link to is a new log-in page, and obviously the access isn't there! But I still would like to remove that link altogether…
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Posted
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#62291
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Community saint

Hello SAC,

Good looking front page!

The easiest way to have your front page news locked is to use a subforum such as News and change its access permission through the forum editor. Use a Forum Block to post it on the front page instead of the News/Blog block. Check my front page top news, which is locked with the same method.
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Posted
Rating:
#62292
SAC
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Well-settled

Thank you! :P It's far from ready though, but I'm getting there - hopefully… :)


So what you mean is that I should have a forum category where I can post news that'll place itself on the front page, and only allow members to click and read - taking them to that particular forum category? Will that get rid of the "Add News" link below?
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Posted
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#62293
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Community saint

Yes!

You will see only "read more" which will bring you to the forum post without edit and posting rights.


SAC said

Thank you! :P It's far from ready though, but I'm getting there - hopefully… :)


So what you mean is that I should have a forum category where I can post news that'll place itself on the front page, and only allow members to click and read - taking them to that particular forum category? Will that get rid of the "Add News" link below?
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Posted
Rating:
#62294
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Community saint

There is also another method that I use from time to time to really control the look of that piece of news on the front page, and since you are good with graphics, you can really make nice looking pieces.

Try this: Use Photoshop to create the best looking graphic and text presentation you want; adding just the right amount of text teaser. Publish this image on the front page with the page editor and link it to the Forum "News" for the full message.:cool:
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Posted
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#62296
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Community saint

Regarding your concern over fixed width or not!
Here is my point of view on this, which is not necessarily shared by all, but it is freely given:

Make the site for the "audience" it is intended to attract and serve and do not try to please the whole world. A 1024 fixed width is primarily used for netbooks today. No one with any love of computer will have this as a desktop at home. Your members, if they are truly lovers of cityscape simulation will have the widest possible monitor they can put their hands on. So, do the site for them and use the extra screen real-estate of a full width to splash graphics and content.;)
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Posted
Rating:
#62297
SAC
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Well-settled

Yeah, that worked! :lol: However, at first, when adding the block, I accidently chosed some kind of Forum Ticker and I was like; My GOD!!! Won't anything work out properly!!!!

:lol:

Well, I finally found the correct block and will look into it more. It's on the frontpage right now though! Thanks for the help! :):thumbs:

Still, I think I prefer smaller images inside the actual news box, and some text - and then do it just as you describe in your last post!

For tis reason I'm wondering if anyone knows how to implement an "image banner" such as on this side;

http://www.gamus.com.br/

At the moment they have an internal server error, but on the front page there's this "constantly rotating banner", (game ad), almost like an header image.

I'd like to have something similar right above the News Block on my front page, having a number of different images/screens showcasing different game graphics available on SimuScape, all of them separately linking to that particular area!

Do I make any sense? :$

The visual effect is essential for a site like SimuScape which is about graphics, and it's important for me to get newcomers attention upon arrival to my site!
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Posted
Rating:
#62298
SAC
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Well-settled

Oh, and as for you views on screen resolutions… I sort of agree! It's just that I'm sort of a perfectionist, and want everything to look - just perfect! :P

I've been checking out my site using the great tool provided by www.screen-resolution.com to find out about not only the most common screen resolution, but also how my site looks like in Firefox/IE using different solutions…

And as shown on the screen attached below using a larger resolution than 1280, (which I prefer as it's the most common one), it really doesn't look good at all! I believe I want to have mine fixed!
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Posted
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#62310
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Fan in action

Your theme looks nice, good job.  :)
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Posted
Rating:
#62313
SAC
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Well-settled

Thank you! :)

Anyone able to help me out with that "rotating image" as mentioned in one of my previous posts?
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Posted
Rating:
#62315
SAC
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Well-settled

Okey, so the new logo is in place, and I made some minor changes to the header… but overall, this is the base colors for my new site… Any inputs on the location of the logo? Move to the left, move to the right, or fine as it is? It's here; www.simuscape.com

I also have an idea of having particular color marks, (side panel like), to sort of distinguish different game areas for the sake of members orientatons. While this bluish color represents the overall site, I'm thinking a side mark in for instance red for one game, a green for another and so on… These colors will mainly reflect the actual side marks and nothing else… Think I need to produce a test iamge to sort of visulaize my intentions… :P

On another note, I didn't seem to be able to add my own custom "zone_gradiant.png", so I had to simply replace it with another one using the same name. Since my site now is fixed to 1285xXXX I also had to change the zone_gradiant image to the same size as the header image - since the logo needed some more room, and therefor it din't work to have the zone_gradiant 1x29 in size. In the global.css it says "repeat-x" though, but changing it to "repeat-no" made the zone_gradiant to dissappear. Still, it's a fixed width so it works having the "repeat-x" in the global.css as the image covers the entire area…

I have no intentions to learn coding, so I'm certainly having problems figuring out what to change and what not to change… A bit frustrating at times as I need help all the time… Well, mostly anyways… :P My "thing" is drawing and that's what I'm going to continue doing so…

Well, any inputs and/or help is highly appreciated…

Oh, and btw, am I allowed to make a custom version of OCPortals logo for the sake of promoting OCPortal - whilst not ruin the overall design of Simuscape itself?
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Posted
Rating:
#62322
SAC
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Well-settled

I've attached an example of the "link back" logo to ocPortal on my site. Since I'm working on a specific theme, I need also this ocPortal thingy to follow that theme, hence this example! Is this okey by ocPortal?

Remember, this is just an example. The final version will be more worked on. Is there, by any chance, a larger logo available somewhere to work with for the purpose of creating a link-back button?
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Posted
Rating:
#62332
SAC
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Well-settled

Okey, I'm really trying to understand this, but it's waay over my head.

An example;

At the main site, the zone menu, there are text links to "HOME", "FORUM", and "ADMIN ZONE", and if inspekting that area using Firebug I get something like this - (for the sake of replacing the text links with images instead, which is my goal with this particular one);

<a title="" href="http://www.simuscape.com/site/index.php?page=start" class="non_current">Home</a>

If I double-click that I get some more info in the Firebug window to the right, telling me this;

menu_type__zone a:link, .menu_type__zone a:visited, .menu_type__zone a:active
{
color
:
#2B9EB7
;
margin-right
:
1px
;
text-decoration
:
none
;




Well, I open up the global.css to find any of this, but to no avail. I don't even know where to look. I use the search engine to check specific .css-files for the word "HOME", (as an example), but without any results.

I am probably doing this completely wrong, but as I don't have any knowledge what-so-ever about codes, this is the end result. Hopeless case? Yeah, most likely!

The thing is, I've never been interested in web site development, codes, and the sort, and I probably never will. It's not my cup of tea, as simple as that! I'm interested in other things when it comes to web sites. That doesn't mean I want to present whatever website design I'm personally capable of to any visitor. on the contrary. I'm very picky about design and layout, and want things to look good, clean, following a theme... And so on...

I realize I'll never be able to achieve what I want to achieve with Simuscape - even though ocPortal comes with a very userfriendly interface - according to most people. But again, that is if you have some knowledge - which I don't! Some people love working with codes and stuff, others don't! And I belong to the latter!

Still, I'm eager to get Simuscape up and running as I have tons of custom files that have been asked for for a long time now, and therefor I wonder if there's anyone on this site with some time on his/her hands willing to try to help me perform the tasks needed for this? Alternatively point me to a site/forum where people are more than willing to help out! I will hand over all my points to any helper...

Many thanks in advance!
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Posted
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#62333
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Community saint

I think that every new webmaster of a freshly installed ocPortal site goes through the same questions you have concerning its potential to be molded into something unique that reflects his tastes and plans for success.

While going through the Setup Wizard, you must have read that "ocPortal is built with 4 layers of control, all of which you have access to and all of which are fully documented; each successive layer provides more control, but requires more experience.

1. Inexperienced computer users will be able to create a generic but rich website.
2. Creating a highly featured and visually unique website is possible for experienced computer users.
3. People with basic web developer experience and a good understanding of XHTML will be able to make incredibly distinct websites.
4. People with moderate to advanced programming experience will be able to create totally new website features, or modify existing ones."

You undeniably have a good graphical knowledge and talent, as demonstrated in your front page, but to be able to go reach step 2 above, you will need a basic understanding of XHTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), the backbone of any "themeing" or style modification.

There are lots of people here willing to help you find and replace bits of codes to achieve your desired designs, but you must first understand why it is there and how to get to it.

All you really need to get going is a 2 day investment of your time to understand enough to pursue a basic modification project that might be sufficient to see your dream of a website come true.

Find a free XHTML course on the Internet (there are literally hundreds to choose from). On YouTube alone you will find very interesting ones and after just a couple of hours you will want to experiment with your header.tpl and global.css and not wait for the end of your courses…it is that much fun to finally understand something. It is not complicated; to the contrary…you are not going to redesign ocPortal after all.;)

Before delving into your own creation, take a few hours to follow the many tutorials you will find here. It is important to do so to have a good grasp of the structure of things and find the files and understand the methods. I have written a few myself, just as I was trying to understand the potential of ocPortal.

That's right, all it takes is 2 days and you will receive the "light":cool:…Try it before you get discouraged and think that programming is for "Giant Heads":o only. That is not true anymore!

Do this and you will see that you will get many replies to your requests once they are formulated with a bit of knowledge, not much, just a bit more than you now have.

It is worth the challenge to finally get the site you wanted for ages!
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Posted
Rating:
#62336
SAC
Avatar

Well-settled

Well, I do think ocPortal has potential and that my site can be molded into something quite descent in the end… :) No doubt about it!

I remember when I first started to look for some solutions to be able to bring a new site for my graphics, heavily encouraged by all the e-mails from people world wide about not being able to download my graphics ever since my former site Gothia was closed! While I only managed to bring up a site using Frontpage, I had a stunning 1.100.000 visitors/month at its peak, although I expect no such numbers anymore since most people moved on to 3D…

Still, encouraged by all the fan-mails I went out and searched for possible solutions, and I specifically remembered visiting a site for gaming purposes that had the ocPortal logo at the bottom of the main page. A site I quite liked, although not around anymore. But that led me to ocPortals site and when comparing different solutions, I figured ocPortal could be for me. And so I decided to give it a go…

But in all honesty I have to admit that I've never been interested in coding websites - or even developing them for that matter! My interests are purely in graphics, and that's what I enjoy doing. This entire web site thing is really a must to get something up and running, and my problem could possibly be that I'm very picky. I don't want to offer anything half descent… :lol:

And even if I catch up on anything code related, it'll work for the moment and eventually it'll all go away - simply as I lack both time and basic knowledge, but above all; interest. Still, I need to do something I guess to get at least halfway there…

It's not that I don't understand a code when I see it. When I look at my site - and others - using Firebug it somehow makes sense. At least the simple parts… :lol: Problem begins when I try to find the location of the code I want to change in the .css files here. It doesn't make any sense to me at all…

For example, I checked out the tiny little "Move Up" button at the bottom of the main page, a button image named "top.png". I used Firebug trying to figure out how the code looked, and then I compared the "Home"/SimuTalk"/"Adimn Zone" links on the zone menu below the header, trying to figure out what code I needed to add replacing those text links with an button images instead. And it didn't seem to complicated at all really!

But when I opened up the global.css I couldn't even find anything similar to what was showed in the Firebug window. I even used the little binoculars to search for "top.png", but with no luck at all. I opened up as many .css files i could think of, but none of them gave me something similar to what was referred to in that Firebug window! Nothing at all! And that's what really frustrates me, that I can somewhat understand what I see in that Firebug window, but not the rest within ocPortal!

But I'll continue to try… Because I need my site up and running… :)
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