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IPB 4.2 testing begins...


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So as I posted a little while ago, we are looking at the next version of our forum software arriving soon. Well, they have released an Alpha, and I have started to test it out. With it will come a newer theme for the site, since I doubt this theme will be updated too very quickly.

Currently things are in Alpha, with discussions on Beta hitting next week. I will probably hold off on anything here until I can make sure all the functions we use, and our plugins work. But things so far look hopeful, as the Adoptables for the most part appear to work!

We will probably change from my custom Game List app to using the new Clubs features which I think will be an awesome addition. More details to come on that.

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So today, Invision released IPB 4.2 as a beta. This means it is ready for live websites, and is supported. As a result, I have setup a local staging site to start preparing the transition of the boards over to 4.2.

First an overview of the new look.

The new look is very similar to this forums current look, but with some visual changes. My reasoning for switching it up somewhat is that the current theme will still probably be several weeks/months out from a release, and the new layout, with tweaks I have applied I found to feel just a good as this one - while being easier to maintain.

As you will see, the post format has changed a little, but isn't terribly different, instead you will find the trophies under the username, and the Adoptable isn't quite as large (90px vs 128px), allowing for the users avatar to show through. The typography is also a lot more readable on desktop screens, and you will have the same great mobile experience you have had previously.

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Games List will now become Game Clubs

I will no longer be developing the Games List functionality myself for the forums. I found it to be a rather time consuming, and I felt that 4.2's club features were actually a better fit. As a result, Game Clubs will become what the Game List was supposed to be.

What are Clubs?

Clubs are social groups within the site. You guys can create Clubs as you see fit, and depending on the type of Club you wish to have, these clubs can be open to the public, where anyone can join in, Open to members joining freely, or private or even closed. Clubs are designed to be social.

Clubs currently allow you their owners to create and operate their own set of forums, this is great news for existing sites who wish to post news in an area specific to their game, ask for feedback in a feedback forum. Per my question above, I would like to add the addition of Blogs or Galleries, but I would like to see which the community feels is more important. More features such as those discussed previously will be added over time.

I personally feel that Clubs are better then any game list or showcase because they are very much a social experience. They provide a way to build games in a social way. They allow users who do not wish to operate their own forums to basically run their own in their own Club. Because members here can join in, you have a membership base that is already interested to start off.

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Some Adoptable's changes will be coming in as well.

I am taking the opportunity to clean up some of the Adoptable's stuff on the site as well. For instance, the streak widget will not appear as often in the sidebar (I never really felt it was really useful there as it was rather bulky if good looking), instead it has a prominent place on your profile. You will also see above on the navigation that "Adoptables" is there, this is link to the Codex showing off the Adoptables. I have more in store, but will update everyone later on those changes.

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Oooh Shiny, When do you get it?

I am still very much testing it out, but so far it has appeared very stable, I still have to make sure that all the Adoptable stuff works, as well as the few additional features we use (Auto Welcome, Referrals, etc) are functioning. If those all check out, I would say that you can expect a post probably as early as next week with a notice on when the site will go down for the update.

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