|It's been a wild ride for the site. We just celebrated our 3rd anniversary, as the film celebrated it's 26th birthday. In my last blog entry I talked a little about the history of the site and alluded to what I want to achieve next.
The film turned 25 last year, and it's one of its biggest milestone. 30 will be one, but not as much as the quadranscentennial. The site celebrated a little but not as much as I'd hoped. I wanted to do a big 25th Anniversary site update... possible a complete site upgrade. But computer problems and a lack of time prevented me from doing much. I was hoping that when I got another copy of the imaging program I once used it would make it easier, but as I explained in the last blog entry, the newer operating system prevented me from using it as I should. Not saying I won't get another program (something akin to Photoshop) and try working on something different. I had toyed with the idea of a full site upgrade. Perhaps give the site a modern look. It's a tough decision. I love the way the site looks now. It has a slightly anachronistic feel to it. In the last blog entry I went into a little detail as to the construction of the site, but only touched briefly on the subject. Upon creating the directory structure, and developing a plan as to how I wanted the site look, I started designing the site itself. I was trying to find a font to create the Wessex Hotel "W", as seen on the character's nametags, because the original iteration of the site had a decorative "W" at the top. The page header, the W with its laurels and decorative outlines formed a kind of ornamental look which flowed to the edges of the page, turned down, and sort of stopped. I was going for the look of letterhead, but scrapped the idea because it didn't have the cohesiveness I was hoping for. I then started looking for designs to use to create borders and backgrounds. I found designs from a stationary store that I thought would make great borders for the different sections (and they became the ones used in the left sidebar). I then found a design which I thought would make a good image border, edited it in paintbrush, and then started ensuring that all primary images used the border. I wanted the background to resemble the wallpaper from the 13th Floor, or at least look reminiscent of the film. The wallpaper was overpowering but the tesselating red pattern I found was just what I was looking for.
The header turned out pretty good. I made it so that I could change the image that appears at the top, while the rest of the header could be cached for faster loading. Everything else kind of fell into place. I experimented with various fonts, finally choosing "Hotel Coral Essex" for the headers and "Verdana" for the page text. A lot of work went in to creating the site! Especially the headers, which I did in Paintbrush by typing each letter with a space in between them. I then moved each letter exactly one pixel away from the letter before it, to ensure readability and cohesiveness. (Typing regularly puts the lowercase letters to close to each other, making it harder to read.) Altogether, I spend about a year creating the entire site, from start to finish. Now that it's complete, however, I can just keep updating individual pages or sections, and when I do finally upgrade the site it'll be easier because I'll only have to copy and paste the primary content and restructure the tables to accommodate the newer coding.
It won't be easy, but it's not a hard task, either, so I can do it. The only question is do I really want to. I love the way the site looks now, basically because its anachronistic styling (to me, anyway) complements the movie nicely.
But I also know that times change. I can picture the site with a modern feel. I even started working on a device reflexive, dynamic site, but I kind of reached a dead end in terms of really wanting to do it. I didn't like the way it was heading. That doesn't mean I've given up. I've thought about changing the design and releasing a few "test" pages so followers on the site's Facebook page, and then go from there. I'll be working on them, and Facebook will be the first to know if I ever do release those pages.
Other than that, there's lot more in the works. A completed filmography section, more interviews, and a complete breakdown of the International Releases section. The movie has been released in a plethora of languages, and I would like to create a mini-site for each release, more than likely translated into that language (so that International users can also "experience" the movie like they should). Walkthroughs would also be available, with pictures being taken from the version it is covering. There's a lot of new content I am working on, such as re-enabling the support features. I've already readded the guestbook and will be working on the chat room and message board, as well. With the site's social media accounts, features such as those are anachronistic, but they also add a more personal touch by allowing fans to gather at the site, using it as their own social media outlet, where fans can discuss the movie with like minded people. I'm still hoping that I'll acquire a copy of the script and that will lead to many more updates prevelent to my cause.
The site has been through a lot over the last 3 years. Twice, it had to be reuploaded, in its entirety, to the server. The first time I uploaded each and every file, one by one, by hand. It took about 5 hours. The second time I configured my FTP, and uploaded it that way, which only took about an hour (if that) to reupload the entire 2.6 Gigabytes. When the site went offline the first time I unfortunately lost all of the guestbook entries, with the exception of one, and all of the movies. I didn't have my SD card at the time, so I, unfortunately, lost all of the movies. I was able to reacquire them all, finally, and ensure I keep a copy of all of them on my memory card, at all times now. I plan on keeping mutiple backups of the site, as long as I can remember to update all of them with all new changes (seeing I update somewhat frequently). As long as I have the primary backup, I'll be okay. I'm also going to start creating server backups, of databases, etc., that will help ensure a seamless transition, should the site ever get removed again. I'm hoping it won't, which is why I'm been paying for the site's hosting plan in 3 month intervals now, rather than paying a month at a time like I did for the first year and a half the site was online. I'm a lowly carpenter in a downed economy, but I know things are going to get better, which is why even though I don't always have it, I've been trying to make sure all NOTTFO renewals are taken care of in a timely fashion. I'm more than willing to pay the costs of keeping the site online: that's how much it means to me.
Right from the beginning I've tried ensuring the site was taken care of. I immediately requested the Internet Archives to start archiving the site (and it has) as well as guaranteeing that all pages are indexed by search engines such as Google. I went through verifications to become trusted by McAfee. I've created a NOTTFO account on almost all major social media platforms, and other places, signed up for that Google Analytics (which I used to fix all the 404 errors), and much more. I love this site. That's why I want it to be the best.
I'm going to be adding more 2d renderings, better blueprints, 3d renderings, and much, much more. There are so many more updates in the works. Maybe one day there will be a new version of the site... a "Version 2.0" if you will, but right now I'm just going to concentration on, for the most part, updating the current site. I'll keep working on a possible upgrade, but in the meantime, just keep expecting the best updates to the only website on the internet completely devoted to the movie "Nightmare on the 13th Floor".
That said, these last two blog entries have been of a somewhat personal nature, and I don't plan on doing that anymore. I want all future blog entries to be like the first three. Comprehensive, definitive, and relating to the number 13! Looking back, the first two entries are so short! I wish I could revise them, but I guess their fine the way they are. Just hang in there because more updates are coming soon! Until then, keep enjoying the site and I'll talk to you in the next entry.
I have lots of big dreams for the site, but I am going to save those thoughts for my next blog entry. For now, though, just know that I love the movie and that's one reason I care about the site so much. I feel like it's been a good 26 years. Things may not have always been the greatest, but alas, they are looking up. And they've never been as bad as they could have been, so I'm fortunate. Every now and again I will catch myself (sometimes consciously) using mannerisms of the cast, or using quotes in context (I often use "That would seem to make sense," in my best Jake Rogas voice). The movie has played a big role in my life over those first 23 years and I think about it regularly. It's one of those simple movies I find so much joy in. There's a lot more to the movie that some people will never see, and that's one reason I've tried to make the site as definitive and comprehensive as possible. I don't plan on it going anywhere, and will do my best to always keep it online. I want the film to live on in the hearts and minds of fans forever, and hope that the site will help to carry the film through the next 26 years, as it has the last 3. Until then, keep watching, keep reading, and be sure to "Like" us on Facebook! See you next time!