RPGFan's New Design!
Well, as you can all see by now, we have switched over to a new design and have officially joined the GameFan Network. These are all positive changes and hopefully you will all see the benefits in the future whether you like the new design or not. You can find the main page of the GameFan Network at the following link: GameFan Network. This network will be host to many top videogame sites on the internet and although it is only getting off the ground, you should expect even more quality sites to join in the future.
First of all I'd like to comment a bit on the new design. It's a known fact I think that frames are a thing of the past. No major sites use them anymore and there's probably a good reason for it. It certainly gives some problems with different resolutions. Also, we couldn't use a frame for the top ad because people could just load the page WITHOUT the frame and they would get no advertising and this would kinda violate our agreement with the Gamefan Network. I've also noticed that everytime somebody finds one of our pages from a search engine, they are brought directly to that page but since we use frames for the navigational buttons, they only see that particular page without any way for them to get the frames back and most people would not click on the back links at the bottom so we were losing tons of potential readers because of frames.
This new design also allow us to use SSI (Server Side Includes) to run the top and side navigation on every page making everything easy to change. I really believe that ditching the frames was inevitable and if you look at almost every serious web pages out there, nobody uses frames anymore and we had to do it one day and it's better to do it now than wait and have even MORE pages to change in the future. Also, having all the sections on the left now will give more exposure to some of the smaller sections that didn't get much hits because they were buried deep inside subsections of the site.
Now, I know that nobody has mentioned this yet but I want to clear it up before anybody says it. No, we didn't SELL out by putting ads on the site. We're not trying to make money from our site or anything. RPGFan (and LunarNET before) has been one of the only big sites on the internet that has been kept advertisement-free. Personally, I don't like ads and I didn't want to subject our readers to them. However, there's a good reason why sites have ads... to cover the expenses at the very least. Basically, a site as big as RPGFan with all those movies and pictures and everything requires a server with unlimited space and unlimited bandwidth. We've had to change servers about 5 times so far because we keep using too much bandwidth for the different web hosting companies.
Since March, I've been paying quite a huge sum of money to ensure that RPGFan can continue to exist and with absolutely no revenues from ads, I think you can pretty much see why we had to do something. GameFan offered us free hosting with unlimited space and bandwidth on a fast server and the opportunity to be on a network where we could get more exposure. I'd be pretty stupid to turn this down now wouldn't I? Of course, all sites on the network need to have the GameFan Network logo and ad on the pages which is normal since they have to cover their cost also for the server and all that so it's a fair deal. GameFan Network has been really supportive (especially ECM from GameFan and the server guy) and the network has a bright future in my opinion. Okay, now that this is done, I don't want to hear anybody calling us sellouts because we're putting ads because we're doing this in order to be able to keep the site up and running and I'm sure you wouldn't want us to close the site now would you?
Anyway, there are still some small changes to make on some of the pages but nothing major. Stuff like new section buttons, some minor color tweaking for some pages and some fixed links but I think we should have it all done by Monday. To those of you who hate the new design, I'm sorry. We can't please everyone and I personally happen to think it looks great. I'm sure you'll all get used to it in time, it's always weird when a site changes but eventually you get used to it. Also expect some new sections to pop up in the future such as an Anime section and a letters section (kinda like the one at RPGamer). I think the site currently looks a bit more professional and should help us get some recognition from game companies who sometimes thought the site looked too much like a little fan site. I know some of you liked this "fan site look" that we had but I think it's something we had to change in order to be able to give you more and better coverage in the future. After all, the important thing is the content of the site and not the way it looks so rest assured that we'll be continuing to bring great RPG coverage for all the latest RPGs and some of the smaller less-known ones from Japan like we've been doing for the last 3 years.