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New Reign Of Blood Layout For 2021+

Posted on 05-Dec-2020

I mentioned back in August that I began work on improving the UI and layout of the game. Reign Of Blood was first built in 2006, and the web has moved on a lot since then. Our last layout change was 2015, and the web has moved on quite a bit since then, too. People forget the game was designed before browser extensions, opening links behind tabs etc. Although I have continued to work on the game over the years, as well as adding new layouts, but now we have got to the point where I'm just tacking things on the edges rather than integrating it coherently. The fragmentation of layouts is now becoming a real problem moving forward, including adding new game features, optimisation and general compatibility. Over the course of January, everyone will be transitioning to the new layout.


Preview of how the new layout looks

Reason #1 Fragmentation & Compatibility


As I mentioned earlier, having one single layout solves the issue of fragmentation & compatibility. It's tougher than it looks to add something that can look different on the different layouts people are on, so to secure better future compatibility having everyone on a new clean layout will solve this issue. It means I can spend the time focusing on the content and how it looks one layout, without having to scale it so it works well with all of them, or even worse, having it just look bad. This brings us all together.

Reason #2 Speed


Speed is the #1 priority in games like Reign Of Blood. I cannot optimise properly with how things are now, especially as each layout has different options within itself. As I said, I'm dealing with a fragmented disaster. This new layout has an average speed increase of 14%. What's even more exciting, is there's still room for more optimisation because I can clear out all the old unused old layout variables from the database which will give us an even more speed benefit. This new layout has plenty of built in optimisations, including the removal of no longer used code, and large images being kept to a bare minimum (even the background image can be disabled for that extra couple more milliseconds if you choose). Page loads are faster than either of the old "lite" layouts, which is what my goal here was.

Reason #3 Clarity & Smoothness


There's no point in having a new layout if there is no increase in clarity and smoothness. The game's font and font size, back in the day, was set when 800x600 resolution was normal, but as screens get higher resolution and the text can (most of the time) get smaller and smaller on the screen, and while there are workarounds like browser zoom, it's much better natively readable. It cannot be the case of just making the font size bigger because it would break many pages as it's designed for the current font size. I have decided on a new font, SFPRO, for ultimate readability and smoothness. The font is also slightly larger, which reduces strain and makes it much more nice to read natively vs the old fonts.

The design in general had a goal of being more compact, looking good without the need for overcomplicated graphics, and making links feel nice to click. The new background image behind the main content gives contrast to the link colour. The navigation links are now satisfying clickable buttons, and with less header content used up by big graphics. That means less scrolling without giving up the feel of the game. The layout has also better tablet/iPad support in desktop mode than before. You can see below how the smoothness of the table borders and nav links compliment each other well.



Reason #4 New Features


There are two new features (currently hidden behind the two dashes in the first screenshot) coming to Reign Of Blood which is made possible by being integrated into this new layout. These features will roll out after the new layout is fully released, but for now, they'll sit up there and tease you.

Try It Early


The new layout has been used by me for a few months now, and over the last month for a few of our staff members who have taken part in trying it out. I thank them for their feedback so far. It's now ready to be rolled out a little further, currently on an opt in basis to expand the testing. You can switch over early and join the open beta by navigating to the link below (desktop only).

Click here to switch to the new layout early >>>

Enjoy,
Ash

  

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