New N4G site and Newsboiler network goes live
Welcome to the brand new N4G website. What you see in front of you is something we have been working on for some time now and it feels good to finally be able to show you all what we have been working on for the past 18 months. I also like to apologize for the few extra days we had to keep N4G closed. We ran into some unexpected difficulties after importing the old N4G that prevented us from opening the site on Tuesday.
This project turned out to be a lot more challenging than we had first thought when we started planning it almost two years ago. To make a long story short ; big complicated project, small dev team, mistakes were made, had to redo a lot of stuff, moving a website the size of N4G into a completely new system does not go without its fair share of problems.
The new site runs on a social news platform we have developed called Newsboiler, based on the N4G concept, but coded completely from scratch. We have kept many things similar to how the old site worked, but added improvements based on your feedback. New features and improvements will also be added in the coming weeks/months once we know the core functionality of the site works. Here is list of changes and improvements that will be available from day one.
We decided to go for a simple design which has focus on content. Many of you visit N4G many times per day, so we felt a fancy design will just get in the way of what really matters; the news stories. I have been using the design for a couple of months now and personally I feels it works very well for what the purpose of the site is. There are still some polishing that can been done, as some of the design elements are a bit ruff in some areas, but we will do this when we get the technical issues sorted out.
We have put a lot of thought into the navigation of the new site trying to make it very simple yet powerful. If we have succeeded I guess is up to you to decided, and we are ready to make improvements based on your feedback. There are also many minor navigational improvements that will be added shortly has we did not have time to fix everything before launch but we are quite happy with the core structure, which is similar to the old N4G in many ways.
As soon as we have been able to do some tuning with actual traffic the new site should be faster than the old site, or at least that is what we are hoping.
The new submission process is made a lot simpler and faster.
New Tags system:
More powerful tag system, as you can now relate news not only to games but also to companies and people.
This is one of my favorite new features. You are now able to find stories per sources, as well as rate both sources and their stories.
This is also a simple but neat new feature. All rumors will now have a poll for you to vote true or false.
New PM system:
A new simple but more effective PM system.
There will be more advanced social futures added later, but you can now add friends and also a status update to your profile.
Improved reporting system, over all easier to use. If the pending section starts filling up contributors will be forced to approve a certain number of sorties for every 5 story submitted. Stories without reports that stay in the pending for a certain amount of time without getting approvals will gradually need fewer approvals to help with keeping a more constant flow of news. Only contributors will now be able to report stories.
No more OpenZone. A new bubbe voting system for giving feedback about your fellow N4G user. Comments can now get both a positive and negative statuses based on community votes. Comments receiving a lot of negative feedback will collapse and can no longer be replied to. The system is now also harder to game, and all accounts have been reset to 3 bubbles which is the new default. The old system was badly abused so setting all accounts to the same starting point was necessary for the new system to work. You can now also reply to a reply which can come in handy.
We have decided to give all members who are logged in a version with less advertisement. This should make the site easier to work with when being an active member.
The much hated/loved ability to limit the amount of opinion pieces on the home page is still here, but in an improved version. I will be the first to admit that the last filter did a very poor job and there were a lot of articles getting filtered which should not have been. I understand that this have been frustrating for many contributors and site owners. I think that one of the things that make N4G an interesting place is a lot of the content provided by the samller independent game sites. But when nine of the top ten articles were opinion pieces we were forced to do something on behalf of our readers who felt N4G should be more news focused. I think N4G can have a balance between news and opinion, but that balance must be healthy and the improved source filter will hopefully do a better job than the last. The filter has been reset so it could take weeks before it will start working properly. There is now also a strict setting for those who wants purely news focused sites.
Member with a high trust rank will have more influence than members with a low trust rank. Only members who prove over time that their actions can be trusted will be able to reach a high trust rank. Members will not be able to see their own trust rank.
This is by far the biggest “new feature”, and the main reason for this site update taking so long. Newsboiler was born out of completely selfish reasons. I really wanted a site like N4G but with movie news. I discussed it with Haavard and he agreed but he also wanted a tech news site, and some good friends of us wanted a football news site and so the idea of a network of topic focused news communities based on the N4G concept was born. The Newsboiler network launches with five sites, N4G, FilmWatch, TechSpy, AnimeShibnun and 11x2. Several more Newsboiler sites that will go live later this year, and the network will probably grow to around 10 - 15 sites.
Each site will have its own community and staff who are passionate about the sites topic. We want Newsboiler to consist of focused communities that is brought to life by people who really care for and know a lot about the topic of the site they are active on. Some of you will probably want to be active in more than one Newsboiler community, so we have tried to make that experience as seamless as possible and membership for a site can be easily activated if you already have an N4G account. These new sites don’t have much content at the moment, and it will probably take a few months to build up active communities.
There are also a lot of minor changes and improvements that I did not mention in this list.
Down time took a little longer than expected, as we ran into some performance issues after importing the data from N4G. Also converting the old N4G data into data compatible with the new system took much longer than expected which resulted in less time for us to set everything up for launch. So here is a list known problems that will be fixed in the coming days/weeks.
- Old PMs are not available at the moment, but will be imported soon.
- User review and blog home pages have limited functionality at the moment.
Some older browsers do not work properly with the site and it looks horrible using the PS3 browser. We are working on fixing this.
- Some site text and graphics around the site are not final, updates will be made later.
- We will probably run into performance issues in the first few days, as we need to tune the sites with live traffic to get it working properly.
- Bugs and minor errors are expected. We will fix them as we find them.
- All voting systems and the new temperature algorithm will need to be adjusted according to the data we collect in the coming days. So you can expect the site to behave a bit strange before we have this adjusted correctly.
- Mobile friendly version is in the works.
- Forum integration is temporarily limited.
- User name change not activated yet, this will be available soon. (Once per account)
There will probably be some bugs in the beginning so we must ask for a little more patient so that we can get everything working. What you see today is also just the core functionality and we plan to add custom made modules and functionality for each site based on your feedback.
Lastly I want to thank all of you who have continued to support N4G despite the many problems the sites have been facing. We have done our best to make this new site a good home for gamers to read and discuss the latest gaming news and we look forward to seeing all of you active on the new site and maybe also on the Newsboiler network. Some of you might not be able to access all sites right away due to the DNS is still pointing to the old server in some areas).
Please use this contact form to report bugs or any other problems you may have with the new site.