Toad's Castle is 12 years old

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Toad's Castle is 12 years old

Postby supertoad » Sat Jun 25, 2016 1:31 pm

Toad's Castle is twelve years old today, and this year there is big news for the site. In time for this occasion I have completed the long-promised transition of TC from a static HTML site into WordPress.

While I based the layout heavily on the look of the old site, I wrote the code for the new theme from scratch. It is built on modern web standards and is responsive based on screen width.

I manually transferred basically all of the content from the old site into the CMS. I did decide to eliminate some sections that lacked sufficient content, and were unlikely to ever grow, like the TC Show. The content throughout the site is now consistently organized and interconnected through the use of categories and tags.

I've put together a very simple process for content submission that I hope will encourage a base level of ongoing activity from visitors. Using the new content submission feature, posting a review or story should feel more like posting on YouTube, for example.

I want to thank Phantom Triffle, who PMed me recently out of nowhere and offered to help with the site. His interest was contagious and motivated me to finally complete this update I've talked about for two years now. He has also committed to write new content for the site going forward.

If anyone else would like access to work on the site, let me know.

A few minor housekeeping items:

* I have removed the completely unsuccessful Bluehost affiliate campaign, which never had a single conversion.
* To help make the forum look less inactive to potential members, I've closed some of the least used sections, such as Help and Current Events.
* I have removed the IRC chat for the time being. I would definitely consider bringing it back if there is interest in the future.
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Re: Toad's Castle is 12 years old

Postby Nightmare » Sun Jun 26, 2016 6:24 pm

I can't deny that seeing this place active again would make me smile, the only question is how to encourage that sort of thing. We're lucky to still be around, what with social media being the go-to communication on the internet nowadays. Something we have under our belt is that we still have a forum while Boo Mansion doesn't, just a fun fact.

It's neat how you still found the time to put in so much work into the site, never giving up on it. I would hope to be able to contribute in some way shape or form to give the same level of dedication, I'll just have to figure out how. Writing is still my only real talent, so let me know if you ever want to set up some kind of silly serialization like we used to do with Character Battles or something, I'd be on board for something of the sort.

Aside from that, I can try and pledge to keep my activity levels up, somehow. I'll definitely go back to keeping the forum index open in a spare tab at all times like I used to.
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Re: Toad's Castle is 12 years old

Postby supertoad » Sun Jun 26, 2016 7:46 pm

I think there will be fewer sites like ours in the future, as social media sucks up the efforts people used to put into creating them. But the internet is a big place, and there will always be room for our small niche to flourish, as long as we invest the effort to keep it an interesting place to visit. And TC is well placed to do that because of its history -- new visitors are greeted with nearly 200,000 posts. All it takes is a few recent post dates and instantly the forum looks active.

New Character Battles would be fun and it's also one of the sections that most directly pushes visitors to the forum for participation. We're all setup to do it. If you start one I'll promote it on the homepage.

Even though I've only managed to produce one of them, I've always been fond of the idea of the Traveler's Guides section and would love to read more of them.

My next goal for the site personally is integrating a lot more video content. Not producing content, just curating embeds from YouTube and Vimeo.
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Re: Toad's Castle is 12 years old

Postby Poisentoad » Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:46 am

So the 23rd of this month will mark 10 years since I first joined. Geez. I guess I'll save the speech about yearning for the good old days since that's played out. I'm not entirely sure what Wordpress is but I'm sure it's a good change. Anyway, I guess I just want everyone to know that as long as this place still exists, I'll always visit to see to check for new posts. And if not I still have the facebook account even though I can't even remember last time I logged in.
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Re: Toad's Castle is 12 years old

Postby supertoad » Sat Jul 02, 2016 1:47 pm

Building the site in a content management system like WordPress removes the tedium from posting new content. Previously I'd have to create a new HTML file, edit others to add links to it, format the content in HTML, connect to FTP and upload the changes, then test and most likely fix mistakes and upload again. Now adding a page to the site is like writing a forum post.
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Re: Toad's Castle is 12 years old

Postby Phantom Triffle » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:33 pm

supertoad wrote:I think there will be fewer sites like ours in the future, as social media sucks up the efforts people used to put into creating them. But the internet is a big place, and there will always be room for our small niche to flourish, as long as we invest the effort to keep it an interesting place to visit. And TC is well placed to do that because of its history -- new visitors are greeted with nearly 200,000 posts. All it takes is a few recent post dates and instantly the forum looks active.

New Character Battles would be fun and it's also one of the sections that most directly pushes visitors to the forum for participation. We're all setup to do it. If you start one I'll promote it on the homepage.

Even though I've only managed to produce one of them, I've always been fond of the idea of the Traveler's Guides section and would love to read more of them.

My next goal for the site personally is integrating a lot more video content. Not producing content, just curating embeds from YouTube and Vimeo.


I agree with you in that TC will be sustainable going forward, we just need to find something that will set it apart, interesting as you put it, and keep pumping out posts to keep it active. Both social media and the poor performance/reception of the Wii U haven't done us any favors. I think we might see a surge of new posters if we can manage to get things back on track before the NX hits. The NX will draw some interest toward Mario and Nintendo from a younger generation and could potentially cause some to stumble across these very forums while searching for Mario/Nintendo related content. Fingers crossed that it ends up being another Gamecube, haha.

More Traveler's Guides and Videos would be great too, in my opinion. Maybe once activity picks back up and I land a job, we could hold some sort of writing contest with me giving out a reward on Steam along the lines of a reasonably priced free game or a Steam Card with $20 credit (that'd be doable)?

I bet that with all of us putting our heads together, we can figure something out.
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Re: Toad's Castle is 12 years old

Postby Nightmare » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:35 am

The subject of Videos stuck out to me. I'm realizing that most of the popular gaming related things on the internet these days come from Youtube and Twitch. Some people just stream regular gameplay of new games, whereas other people come up with unique gimmicks like The Achievement Hunter and The Game Theorists and all of those other channels.

Anyway, I think a good way to get noticed would be to find someone in the community who has the means and the motivation to start putting out videos. Gameplay, reviews, opinion pieces... stuff that could be done with a capture card so they could stream new Nintendo games as they come out, and stuff that could feasibly produce a video's worth of content like once a week.

Just a thought.
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Re: Toad's Castle is 12 years old

Postby supertoad » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:32 am

Maybe once activity picks back up and I land a job, we could hold some sort of writing contest with me giving out a reward on Steam along the lines of a reasonably priced free game or a Steam Card with $20 credit (that'd be doable)?

We're pretty much setup to do contests in the contests forum, so we can definitely make this happen -- all it takes is the interest in writing (or recording?) submissions. We'd need to come up with a very compelling and broad topic, so people want to submit regardless of the prize.

Anyway, I think a good way to get noticed would be to find someone in the community who has the means and the motivation to start putting out videos. Gameplay, reviews, opinion pieces... stuff that could be done with a capture card so they could stream new Nintendo games as they come out, and stuff that could feasibly produce a video's worth of content like once a week.

Putting out original video content would be much better than reposting videos, but finding someone willing to do it seems nearly impossible. It'd be awesome if anyone here wants to step up and give it a try, or can bring someone in who will.
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Re: Toad's Castle is 12 years old

Postby Catnip » Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:37 pm

Supertoad, I have a YouTube channel where I do Let's Plays. They're nothing new or groundbreaking, but if you want to throw any on there, my name is ShinyCatnip on YouTube. Currently finishing up A Link to the Past and working on Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance.

Character Battles...I used to write those all the time. I could probably commit myself to doing one a month or something if people would be interested.

I'll also say from a logistical standpoint I'd be glad to support the forum financially, whether that be donating a prize for a competition or some other way.
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Re: Toad's Castle is 12 years old

Postby supertoad » Sun Jul 10, 2016 6:18 pm

Great, I'll check those out. I'm going to be away for most of the weekends in July, but should have time to build out the video section in August. In the mean time, I'd love to hear any ideas about how to construct it. I'll have enough time during the week to help post content to any existing section, like Character Battles, that anyone wants to create.
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Re: Toad's Castle is 12 years old

Postby Goombachi » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:11 am

During the Fall I'll actually be making a series of videos as a school project, to analyze certain levels in games and see how well they do certain things; pacing, character, atmosphere, etc.
It'll be called Designing For. As in, Designing For (insert concept here).
If something comes of it, it'd be cool to host here in addition to whatever youtube channel I set up.
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