It has been a long, long time since I’ve redesigned, relative to previous works. 1 year an 9 months ago, I launched with my open-source Glitch WP theme.
Why the long wait?
Well, I’ve been busy managing Ghost Gamer News (which officially launched just over a year ago), working at my fantastic day job, and have even begun working on new music.
Now that I’ve got GGN running well and have minimized the time investments to a few articles a week and streaming every other weekend, I could finally work on this site. With that, too, comes some new content for the future.
I’ve been working on a video log concept where I discuss ideas, concepts and more related to a bevvy of things that interest me.
Issues like chronic pain, neurodivergence, my history as a busker, gaming, and more.
So, keep an eye out here and on my YouTube channel for that.
With that preamble out of the way, let’s talk about the art and tech for the redesign.
With my previous design I was going for a weird sort of post-brutalist tech style (because Linux, at least in the early days, was the most brutalist thing in software). This time around, I’m still taking a post-brutalist approach, but have adjusted the “flair” to be more practical and easily interpreted.
On top of that, there is a bit of an obsession for me in art: Minimalism and line-work. I’ve rarely actually gone so far as to create the foundation of art so minimal that it is just basic intersection of lines (essentially), but that was my goal here. While the extremely stripped-down visuals and animation DO have a meaning, they are next to impossible to interpret without the accompanying artist statement below it.
On the animation front, I had a lot of fun playing with perspective (literally): You have this visual space that breaks outside of the boundaries, plus apparent depth.. Until you scroll, and everything is actually much flatter in space than you realize, except for the intersections themselves. I really, really spent a huge amount of time perfecting that visual; probably more than I should’ve, because I doubt many will appreciate the spatial confusion (and most will probably just say “You were lazy and didn’t actually position the objects with their true depth”).
I don’t care, though, because most of the time this art is just for me. Anyway, let’s talk about the tech stack, shall we?
Honestly, this one isn’t much different than what I did with the previous design. We’re still using a standard basic PHP front-end. The only difference here is I switched to Webpack to compile the JS and made use of Three.js for the 3d animation.
I’ve always wanted to make use of Three.js, but haven’t really had a good concept to do so until now. In this situation. It’s fairly simple, and I just imported a simple primitive I put together in Blender for the object. The “fun” part was working on the lighting.
I despise Three.js’s documentation. I found interpreting everything an exercise in frustration, just because I myself haven’t had to work with math in a 3d space since.. Well, I think over 20 years ago when I was learning trig/pre-calc to take the ACT. Fun fact: I never took any advanced math until college just because they put me in remedial classes because they thought I wasn’t smart enough for it, despite the fact that I started programming at age 8. I just hated the teaching methods and rehashing of the same crap over and over again.
I also dropped the search functionality in this round, just because my analytics showed it wasn’t used. Most people found content on my site through Google or just browsing, so there was no need to further delay just to expand the search functionality. I may eventually add it in, but for now, it’s not a priority.
Speaking of priority, there will be some additional art on the web coming eventually: I’ve been working out a concept for a piece that reflects my current “state” (hint hint on part of the tech stack there). I actually had the idea about a year ago, but just haven’t put the time in to studying some of the tech needed to develop it (since it requires interfacing with multiple bits of technology that have different stack requirements). I hope to get it done by 2022, but it depends on how much time I have available with all my other bits of work.
Finally, I’m not open-sourcing this one. There’s really not a huge amount of value there for people; Glitch had some functions that some people may find useful, but here, it’s not going to be that interesting, and Stack Overflow will probably have just about everything you need 🙂