Hey, folks! Been a while, hasn't it? That seems to be a common thing unfortunately.
Anywho, we've got some new stuff to share with you guys. You may have noticed some of the changes yourself - but we're shaking some stuff around. We've organized them into neat little sections for your convenience.
Let's start with the site changes, shall we?
You may have noticed a number of adjustments have been made to our default theme - Midnight 7.1. Most of these aren't major changes, but they should no-doubt help make things look a bit nicer. The navigation menu has some new icons, and what used to be darker blues are now brighter and more vibrant. Most elements also now have nice animations to them rather than being static. Along with that, some weird quirks with the theme have been taken care of at last, as well as some remnants of the original Midnight theme. If you prefer the old theme, it's still available as 'Midnight 7'.
Along with the nice icons we mentioned before, you might also notice that the menu itself has been reorganized a bit. This was done to make it more consistent with the improvements made on Chaotic United's site, which we believe is a significant improvement over the old navigation menu.
We've moved the Project: Infinity and Blamite team sign-up pages over to our own Forms system. In fact, you might notice that there's only one form now. We've consolidated our standard Staff, Blamite Game Engine, Galactiminer, and Project: Infinity signup forms into a single, nicely laid-out form. The new format also borrows some of the improvements made to CU's Staff Application format recently as well. The other forms from CU (Reports, Ban Appeals, etc) have also been brought over and tweaked as need be.
Along with that, you'll also notice that several subforums now have handy redirect links to their respective forms, to make submitting things nice and easy.
It's not just our site that got some facelifting, our Discord server also got some renovating done too.
Fun fact - we've had Gitlab notifications on Discord for a long time. They've just been exclusively visible to our team up until now. We figure that, since major announcement-worthy progress updates are so few and far between, it makes sense to at least give you guys a glimpse into what's happening with Blamite and our other projects. Basically, any time a commit, issue, wiki page, or anything of that sort is made to one of our linked repositories, a notification is posted in the #gitlab channel. You won't be able to view the source code of course - but you'll still get an idea of what we're doing behind the scenes.
Do I even need to say anything here? Yes, yes I do actually. By default, you won't see the #nsfw channel. We ask that you review the information in #nsfw-info before heading in. It contains some info about how to access the channel, as well as a few rules that apply to the channel. As of the time of writing this, the rules are as follows:
- Shock content will NOT be allowed - We define shock content as things such as 2 girls 1 cup, gore, and anything else that is generally intended to be disturbing. The general rule is: "is this someone would want to see"? If the answer is no, it probably shouldn't be posted.
- Do not post any images, videos, or other content of yourself - We don't want to see your body and chances are, you don't really want to have your naked body floating around the internet either. Post it somewhere else if you really want to, but keep it out of here.
- All images, videos, and other content must be of people 18 or older - This should be pretty self-explanatory. There will be absolutely zero content of minors posted.
- The rest of the community rules apply - You can't break all the other rules just because one of them doesn't apply in this specific channel.
If you're 18 or older and would like to share or view *ahem* mature content , you can do !nsfw in #bot_turing_test. You can hide the channel again at any time by doing !nonsfw. If you know for a fact you never want to see adult content, you're free to hide the #nsfw-info channel and pretend it doesn't exist by doing !nsfw-ignore. You can also restore that channel by doing !nsfw-unignore.
Keep in mind that breaking any of the rules above will result in removal from the channel, or in some cases being banned from the Discord server outright. It's a channel for mature content, please be mature when using it.
Additional #forums-feed Notifications
Previously, only a handful of content sent a notification to Discord. Now, virtually all content appears. The two ones of note are Status Updates and Blog Entries. Neither of these posted on Discord before - and now they do.
The Team, and the Eon Game Engine
You may have noticed mention of a project of ours called the Eon Game Engine. This project was spearheaded exclusively by a former developer of ours, @JTKreates. However, due to him becoming busier with life and other such things, he had to step down. As such, Eon is being shelved for the foreseeable future. We are retaining the source code in the event it could be useful, but our current plans don't really include any 2D-based games - so don't expect anything about it for a while.
Additionally, we'd like to introduce the first of hopefully many new team members for Blamite - @zzVertigo! His previous experience includes mostly networking stuff, including the Halo Online Rewritten project. He's been hard at work getting Blamite's networking foundation added - which has proven fairly easy due to the early stages of the engine. Of course - if you happen to be interested in joining the team, feel free to apply! We are always looking for new team members - so if you think you've got what it takes, don't hesitate!
In the future, we're going to be continuing to refine and restructure the website. The issue trackers are being removed in favor of a unified bug tracker. The Blamite website will, in its entirety, be replaced with a page that is integrated into the Elaztek website itself - rather than acting as a completely isolated website. Its functionality will be replicated as it currently exists, but the design will match the rest of Elaztek. Other old pages too are being sent to the archives that are redundant or otherwise unnecessary.
Now, all that stuff is cool, but this announcement isn't just about some site and Discord enhancements. You saw the title - you knew something like this was coming.
We're currently gearing up to start the long journey of putting Elaztek Studios on the map. Here recently, Michael informed me of an independent studio that had only existed for less than a year - they have a functional (still incomplete, but functional) game engine, a team, and are a LOT further along than we are right now.
There's two major reasons that Elaztek is still where it's at currently after over two years: Chaotic United, and my own stubbornness.
There isn't much I can do about the former. Chaotic United is, and always will be my baby. It's a passion project and it continues to exist because I genuinely enjoy doing it. The trouble is, the way I've been going about managing the two has been rather troublesome. I would focus entirely on CU, at which point Elaztek basically goes on hold. After a few months, guilt creeps up and I feel bad for basically ignoring it. At which point I shift gears and go all out on Elaztek. A few months later, guilt creeps up and...I think you see where I'm going with this. I focus on one 100%, then shift gears and focus on the other. I've tried and failed to have a proper balance - what usually happens is that I'm focused on a certain task on one that ends up spanning multiple days, then I keep going and eventually just get too wrapped up in it - then I look and it's been a few months since I've touched the other.
However, there's still something we can and are doing about it. Part of it is something that I'll have to slowly learn and get better at doing, which is managing my time and being able to distribute it effectively between the two. The other part comes to the relationship between the two.
Elaztek Studios and Chaotic United
You see, back when Elaztek first launched in a real, public sense, it was under awful circumstances. Elaztek had existed for over a year prior to it's public launch, and it's history dated even further back if you count Haloman Development. But when it went from being essentially just an idea to being an actual website and entity that existed, it was in response to drama and chaos that had befallen Chaotic United. Back in 2017, a lot of us were still fairly immature - some more than others, but overall it was a chaotic situation that could have, and should have been easily avoided. It was the conclusion of those events that led to Elaztek's launch. Several staff at CU disagreed with my final decision, and nearly left outright - so, I compromised.
Elaztek Studios would become their new home, and they luckily agreed. The person involved would be banned from the start and would have no place in Elaztek. This would be both a safe haven and a new frontier to pursue.
Over time, however, people matured. Time passed, and people came back to CU. Despite this, however, some of our team members were still largely uncomfortable with bridging the gap between CU and Elaztek. A gap that used to be nonexistent, but still remained despite the smoke clearing. Some small baby steps were made (primarily the ability to link your Elaztek and CU forum accounts), but they were overall still kept separate, and that person kept banned.
Today marks the end of that period of time - and with it, a new era for Elaztek Studios. CU and Elaztek will continue - separated, but standing side by side. The two will, moving forward, be partnered with one another. With it, we will be introducing a new Partner program. The details of which are still being ironed out, but the goal is to be able to partner with other relevant communities - big or small. Expect a separate announcement on that once we launch it for real.
The person in question will be allowed into our doors, with welcome arms. The wall that was built up between CU and Elaztek has been torn down, and the two will no longer be kept away from each other, but instead be sisters. There are no immediate plans to make use of this, but expect to see CU get included in some things we do here from time to time - it'll probably be a while before anything happens, but the door is open.
I briefly considered merging the two together once more, however I feel that ultimately, while it would help things in the short term, the two ultimately have too different of goals to sensibly be a single entity. Chaotic United is a gaming community, primarily focused on Minecraft. It briefly dabbled with game development somewhat with Demoria Online, but the project never panned out and was still separate from CU during its development. Elaztek is focused on game and software development. While granted, both do have a lot in common - the relaxed atmosphere with their teams, the same guidelines, similar Discord and Forum structure, among other things - they both are seeking separate objectives. As such, they are going to continue to remain separate entities.
Coming back to the partner program however, our plan is to be more open than we have been to outside communities. Previously I've been fairly squeamish about working with other communities - for fear of losing some of my team to "greener pastures" if you will, or fear that the partnership won't yield any results. These fears are based on virtually nothing - and ultimately, we're at the bottom and we need people to help grow our team and community.
The Blamite Game Engine will not happen on its own. I can't do it alone. I'm getting better with C++, but I am still ultimately just one man. One man cannot build a game engine on the same scale as Unreal or Unity or Slipspace.
I suppose in a sense you could consider this a sort of relaunch of Elaztek, although it's not so much a relaunch as it is turning a new leaf. Much like CU's nearing 1.14 update, I hope that this is the start point of Elaztek actually making progress. A point where we look back on, where we can say "that's the point where it all began". Whether or not that will happen is yet to be seen.
Some other changes are coming down the pipeline as well. I'm going to be making some much-needed refinements to Elaztek's website and its general direction. Stay tuned.
Edited by haloman30