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Phillyman

Retromags 2.0 arrives in 2013! - Now 100% FUNDED!

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Update 12/27/12 - We are 100% funded for this massive project! We start work immediately!


The year 2012 was not kind to Retromags, first we had MegaUpload get shut down by the FBI back in January. Because the vast majority of our 1100+ magazines were hosted over there, it lead to us having broken links all across the Retromags website. So we started to rebuild by uploading files to Rapidshare, and right as we started to make real progress....Rapidshare went and changed their terms of service and put bandwidth cap's on all accounts. Well I am here to tell you guys that we will prevail! I am not going to look at these two setbacks as being the end of Retromags, but rather a new beginning. I think it is time for Retromags to grow and realize it's full potential and place in the gaming world. Over the last few weeks I have taken a step back and looked at how Retromags is set up and what I like and don't like about our current setup. I have also contacted two companies that are experts with Invision Power Board forum software. One of these companies specializes in creating custom features, the other specializes in creating custom skin's. Both companies come highly recommended by other users that run this type of forum.

The Features

Technology has changed since I started Retromags in 2005. One of the new tools that is now available to us is custom built in databases. A database is a very powerful thing in the website world, and would be an immense help with fixing and consolidating things around here. I have been in talks with a company that is willing to come to Retromags and design us two custom databases, the templates to display the data, and a set of collection tools. These two databases would be integrated right into the current website and would replace out....
  • The Download Section
  • The Wiki (removed last year)
  • The Advertisement Section
The first custom database would be a Magazine Database, It would contain EVERY video game magazine in the world that we can gather information on! This custom database would operate like a wiki page where all our members could make changes and additions to the records....as well as revert changes. However unlike the old wiki that we used to have, this one would not require a separate username and password.....and would be integrated right into our current site. It would also not require learning wiki code to format the entries, instead it would use the forum editor and be filled out like a form. I have been gathering data from across the web and at the moment I have around 200 different publications and close to 10,000 unique records (individual magazines) to import into this database from Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that I am creating! This database would display the following information....
  • Name of Magazine
  • Country
  • Editor
  • Publisher
  • Issue Number
  • Month/Year
  • Summary of Contents
  • Cover Page
  • Redundant Download link's (replacing the need for the Download Manager)
The second custom database will be a Video Game Database. In time it will contain EVERY video game in the world! Again it would operate just like the Magazine Database, but would serve a much different purpose. This database would provide our users with a break down of how each video game was rated, along with any advertisements we find from the magazines and some brief quotes from reviews of those games. So this database would contain around 50 video game platforms and close to 15,000 records (individual games). This database would display the following information....
  • Name of Game
  • Genre
  • Country
  • Publisher
  • Release Date
  • Advertisement Scans (replacing out the need for the Advertisement Section in forum)
  • Youtube Game Play Video
  • Synopsis of Game
  • How it was rated by (Nintendo Power">NP, GamePro, EGM, etc)
  • Quotes from the reviews of the time it was released (Nintendo Power">NP, GamePro, EGM, etc)
There are also talks of having a third and forth custom database designed. The third database would be for video game strategy guides, while the forth database would be for submitting interesting pages from our magazines. You would be able to submit interesting articles, interviews, prototype mentions....and then these entries would show up on the front page of Retromags and all our users could comment and discuss the entry. This would replace out the way that the home page functions now, because at the moment it only shows what E-Day or I post. So this would make the front page of Retromags much more exciting, engaging and entertaining to our visitors. Being a database, the submitted entries can be classified under specific categories allowing users to find for any/all articles that relate to what they are searching for.

I am also in talks about making the Magazine Database integrate directly into your user profiles. That would mean that you could go to the entry for "Nintendo Power Issue 1" and there would be buttons for...
  • Add to Collection
  • Who is selling this?
  • Who wants this?
  • Who owns this?
These collection tools would create a virtual bookshelf for you to show (and brag) about your magazine collection. As well it would allow you to see who at Retromags might have the missing issue's you need.....and allow you to find people to sell/trade the doubles of magazines that you currently own.


The Look

The second company I am in talks with specializes in custom looks (or themes) for Invision Power Boards. The Retromags website has always either gone with the default theme provided with our forum installation, or whatever "free" them we could find that looked decent. However we have never had our own custom look and feel for Retromags. Therefore with the new launch of Retromags 2.0, I will finally give Retromags it's own identity to take us into the future.

The Cost

The company that is coming in to design the custom databases has quoted me $350. The other company that is coming in to redesign the look and feel of our site is quoting $380. So all together I am looking at $730 to bring Retromags 2.0 to life.


The Funding

Retromags has been broken (in varying degree's) since MegaUpload was shut down in January 2012. While I could start saving for Retromags 2.0, it would honestly take me until this time next year to put aside $700 to rebuild this site. However if we were able to find just 70 users from our 5000+ member's that could contribute $10 each.....well we could have Retromags 2.0 up and running in the next 4-12 weeks. Since the custom databases would allow everyone to contribute, anyone would be able to submit new links to the downloads when a link goes dead. This will allow us to provide redundancy for the downloads, and also allow us to rebuild more quickly in the future when things go wrong. Honestly we have spent more time in 2012 trying to fix the downloads section than we have spent on preserving magazines. Lets make sure that in 2013, our focus is back on preserving more magazines!

The Rewards
  • Anyone who donates $5 or more to this cause will be mentioned on a Retromags 2.0 founders webpage
  • Anyone who donates $20 or more will receive a random video game magazine from my personal collection!

We will be creating a Retromags 2.0 founders page that will display the users who helped bring this dream to life. Any user who wishes to be included only needs to private message me after they have made there contribution and state how they want to be mentioned (real name or internet name) and if they want me to link their name to their website. The higher a user's contribution, the closer to the top of the founders page they will appear. Users will only appear on this page if they have contacted Phillyman giving their permission that they wish to appear. All other contributions will be considered anonymously submitted.

I have also set aside 50 random magazines to mail out to anyone who contributes $20 or more. These 50 magazines (mainly from the 90's) are all in good/great quality and I have verified that there are no missing pages in each issue. Each of these 50 magazines have been placed in a protective magazine bag with a cardboard backer and will be mailed out free of charge to anyone in the 48 contiguous states! Each magazine is valued between $9 and $17 from eBay (including the shipping fee's) when I picked them out of my collection. These magazines are from my personal collection and are not magazines that have been donated to Retromags or bought with Retromags funds. Anyone that makes a contribution of $20 or more and wants to receive a random magazine, will need to send Phillyman a private message stating their Paypal email or transaction ID and the address of where I should mail their reward. Magazine rewards are first come first serve, when they are gone...they are gone!


Conclusion

The year 2013 will be Retromags best year ever. We will solidify our place as the #1 video game magazine preservation website.....as well as take our place as the #1 place for video game magazine information. Your help is appreciated and I think once we unveil Retromags 2.0....you will be pleased with the changes! Please consider donating below....every little bit helps!

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What about us overseas members wanting to donate? What do we have to add on top to get a 'free' magazine? :P

PM me the general location of the hobbit hole you live in.....and I will see what it cost's to ship a magazine to middle earth :)

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As ever, huge appreciation for the work you guys do on this. Can't wait to be able to download some of the mid to late 90s CVGs. Donation sent. Will send more if you're still short in a few weeks.

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Donation sent. You've provided me with hundreds, if not thousands of hours of entertainment for free. This site is a fantastic resource and your plans for the future sound great.

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Hi Phillyman,

What you're describing sounds very similar to my wiki (http://magazinesfromthepast.wikia.com/wiki/Magazines_from_the_Past_Wiki). I wish you luck and certainly if yours is based round a database, then it should be a lot easier to enter data than the wiki is. I currently have to go and update every single page I link to, whereas a database should do it all for you I expect.

One thing I have on the wiki is pages relating to writers, I notice you haven't mentioned a separate database for writers, is this something you've considered?

Whilst I appreciate our area is a niche one, I do find it a bit discouraging how little feedback I get. I've been working on it over 2 years and I get so few people contributing or even just asking questions and requesting information. The links I put on my Facebook & Twitter pages don't get clicked on. So I guess what i'm saying is, are you sure there's demand for it because i'm thinking of taking a break for a while on mine, but i'm definately intrigued to see how your's turns out.

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Hi Phillyman,

What you're describing sounds very similar to my wiki (http://magazinesfromthepast.wikia.com/wiki/Magazines_from_the_Past_Wiki). I wish you luck and certainly if yours is based round a database, then it should be a lot easier to enter data than the wiki is. I currently have to go and update every single page I link to, whereas a database should do it all for you I expect.

One thing I have on the wiki is pages relating to writers, I notice you haven't mentioned a separate database for writers, is this something you've considered?

Whilst I appreciate our area is a niche one, I do find it a bit discouraging how little feedback I get. I've been working on it over 2 years and I get so few people contributing or even just asking questions and requesting information. The links I put on my Facebook & Twitter pages don't get clicked on. So I guess what i'm saying is, are you sure there's demand for it because i'm thinking of taking a break for a while on mine, but i'm definately intrigued to see how your's turns out.

Hello AndyNick,

I know how much of a pain traditional wiki software can be. Retromags started a video game magazine wiki back in 2008 ( http://www.mwusers.com/forums/showthread.php?6791-Retromags-Wiki!-Dedicated-to-Old-Gaming-Magazines! ). The problem was that the wiki software we were using had the following issues....

  • Separate username/password from the forum
  • Looked entirely different from our site
  • Was difficult to have control over where the information appeared
  • No Paid Support like our forum, Gallery, blogs...etc

When I handed over Retromags to E-Day, the Wiki was being overrun with spam and bots vandalizing it. So I believe sometime last year E-Day took down the wiki. When I came back this past summer to assist E-Day with the running of Retromags, I updated all the modules of Retromags and noticed that now a custom database that functioned like a wiki....was possible :)

So the wheels started to turn and I drew inspiration for a Retromags datbase from the following sources.....

RFGeneration - They have a custom database of video games and everyone can add to the database, this inspired me to design a similar setup for magazines over here. I also like how they implement collection tools that can allow you to keep track of what you have, want or are selling.

NintendoNerds - They run the same software suite as Retromags, and what they have done with it is no less than spectacular. I see how they have their video games database set up, and with a few modifications....I can see something similar working over here for magazines. I hope to combine the look of Nintendo Nerds, with the functionality of how RFGeneration works.

MagWeasel - Was Kevin's attempt to do a magazine wiki. I believe he ran into the same issues as we did with running MediaWiki software. Now his work is only available if you go through the Wayback machine. I am gathering information on USA publications from what he set up

Magazines From The Past Wikia - Your site has been fantastic for gathering some insight on publications outside of the USA.

RetroGamer Magazine - This is where I got the idea for the Video Game Database to have ratings from older magazines and quotes. RetroGamer goes back and mention how games were rated by the magazines of the time....and even gives a quote from those reviews. See the attached image below...

I am also going through countless eBay auctions and gathering whatever information I can. I really want to branch out past the USA and UK magazines and incorporate many of the lesser known video game magazines from countries like Croatia, Russia, Italy, Japan, etc. Using a database, I will be able to create forms that users can come and fill out. I think the reason that wiki's have failed in the past, is because they require a learning curve that may deter many users from contributing. Lets take for example your wiki, there is no entry for Sega Pro Issue 23, if a user wants to contribute to that entry....they are presented with a blank page. With the database I am having constructed.....every issue of a publication will exist....so there will be no need to create a new page. Each issue will already have the most basic information already entered (name, issue number, date, publisher, editor). The information that is missing....such as (cover image, contents) will have a form that users can know exactly where to place the information. I will also have a degree of control over what "fields" of the database end users can edit.

One of the biggest perks to using a database, is that it is all about the information. What do I mean by that? Well all Retromags needs to do is concentrate on entering information into the database. Once entered, we can manipulate that data any way we want. Since this database will run off of a database template to display the information, if a year or so down the line we want to display it differently.....all we need to do is change the template. With the MediaWiki software we were stuck with very few ways to display the data in a pleasant way....and any changes down the line....would require ton's of minor edits to hundreds if not thousands of pages. The other nice thing about putting all this information into a database, is that the information is not stuck in a proprietary format. So down the line, if we ever have to move away from using the software on this forum, we can easily move the database and not have to spend tons of money to convert the database to a more "compatible" format.

Any other questions, feel free to ask :)

-Phillyman

Oh and great idea about the editors, I hadn't even thought about incorporating them into a database.

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Based solely on the image in the first post, I am going to conclude that Sean Bean will die in the end of the Retromags 2.0 update. :)

*huggles*
Areala

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Two things.....

1) Retromags 2.0 is fully funded and work will begin immediately!

2) Sean Bean died protecting Merry and Pippin

I am off to make some calls and start the ball rolling on this project!

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DP, it's become something of a pop culture joke over the years that Sean Bean's character dies in the majority roles he's taken over the years. Not all of them, mind you (the Sharpe's series, for example, National Treasure, and the first Silent Hill film are exceptions), but in many of them (Patriot Games, GoldenEye, Game of Thrones, etc...). :)

Sean Bean played Boromir in the Lord of the Rings films, where he died (again!) trying to keep Merry and Pippin from being taken by the Orcs. :)

*huggles*

Areala

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DP, it's become something of a pop culture joke over the years that Sean Bean's character dies in the majority roles he's taken over the years. Not all of them, mind you (the Sharpe's series, for example, National Treasure, and the first Silent Hill film are exceptions), but in many of them (Patriot Games, GoldenEye, Game of Thrones, etc...). :)

Sean Bean played Boromir in the Lord of the Rings films, where he died (again!) trying to keep Merry and Pippin from being taken by the Orcs. :)

*huggles*

Areala

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DP, it's become something of a pop culture joke over the years that Sean Bean's character dies in the majority roles he's taken over the years. Not all of them, mind you (the Sharpe's series, for example, National Treasure, and the first Silent Hill film are exceptions), but in many of them (Patriot Games, GoldenEye, Game of Thrones, etc...). :)

Sean Bean played Boromir in the Lord of the Rings films, where he died (again!) trying to keep Merry and Pippin from being taken by the Orcs. :)

*huggles*

Areala

Ah. Okies. Now might be a good time to mention I don't really watch movies. Some of the folks that know me from other forums might have heard this before. I haven't been in a theater since 1999 and the last 3 movies I've seen, in order, would be The Matrix (theater), The Simpsons Movie (gift), and Jackass 3D (borrowed during a power outage). I spend too much time playing games other than working or being online. Might have seen Goldeneye on TV but otherwise this explains why I wouldn't get the reference.

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Ok you two, back on topic! :)

I have touched base with both companies and the ball is rolling. A down payment has been sent to the skinner, and once they near completion (7-10 days).....I will then bring in the coding guru to work the magic on setting up the databases and designing a pleasant way to display the information. Then it is my turn.....I am designing 300+ Excel documents with information (as it is easier to manipulate in this format)......then I just need to convert it from Excel .CSV format....into the databases.....and poof.......Retromags goes from having 10,000 pages of content (5000 topics & 5000 Gallery images)......to having 40,000+ pages of content with the addition of all the records we will be adding to the database :)

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Well, here is to hoping that 2.0 is a success! I have donated in the past but don't mind donating a few dollars again if it means the site will be better than before.

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Hey, can't we talk a little even if it's a side topic?

If I could make one little request, the site could benefit from a theme with a bit less 'white' in it. Blacks and grays are easier to read throughout the day, then throw some colors along the borders to brighten things up. I read a smart comment elsewhere online - staring at a white background is like staring at a light bulb.

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So will all the downloads come back when the site is revived, or are a lot of downloads lost now? Hoping to especially see all the "Video Games The Ultimate Gaming Magazine" scans that I can't find anywhere else.

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Hey, can't we talk a little even if it's a side topic?

If I could make one little request, the site could benefit from a theme with a bit less 'white' in it. Blacks and grays are easier to read throughout the day, then throw some colors along the borders to brighten things up. I read a smart comment elsewhere online - staring at a white background is like staring at a light bulb.

Just messing with you guys :P ......And yes I am working with the skinner to make the skin easier on the eyes.

So will all the downloads come back when the site is revived, or are a lot of downloads lost now? Hoping to especially see all the "Video Games The Ultimate Gaming Magazine" scans that I can't find anywhere else.

I have somewhere around 900 of the 1100 magazines. So once we get the database in place.....I will relink those....and then email the community to see if they can reupload the missing issues.

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Yeah yeah, everyone says they are messing around until I come back to the site and can't find my account...

Will they be custom skins or an assortment of themes installed by the forum software? I mean I don't know how flexible the software is and other than turning off the white space I kinda like to change colors around once in a while as I do with my Win backgrounds. It's good news either way, can't wait to see what the results will be.

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Yeah yeah, everyone says they are messing around until I come back to the site and can't find my account...

Will they be custom skins or an assortment of themes installed by the forum software? I mean I don't know how flexible the software is and other than turning off the white space I kinda like to change colors around once in a while as I do with my Win backgrounds. It's good news either way, can't wait to see what the results will be.

Since Retromags runs off of the Invision Power Board Suite of programs, the custom skin we are having designed will be for the entire site. We are leaning towards a light colored skin, but maybe something a bit easier on the eyes and much more organized and clean. This software does support having multiple skins, so it is theoretically possible to choose between two or more looks. However I have yet to find a pleasant dark skin. Maybe after we have the new skin designed for us, we will see how many people want a dark skin alternative.

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I think the current look is fine as far as being organized so hopefully the forum doesn't change too much. Although I assume most of your changes are going to be on other sections.

Yeah if it can support several skins then give us a few options if it's not too much trouble. I've been using the dark theme on A@H since who knows when just because it's the easiest to view. I know you probably want to avoid being all gray but don't know what you consider pleasant. I wish we could customize them on their own without having to bug the admins. Many sites I frequent have a gray/black/aqua theme (like G4 or the very top of this site) that works well. Once I scroll down into the white and baby blue it's time for the sunglasses.

Don't change the logo though. That's perfect as-is.

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Don't change the logo though. That's perfect as-is.

It is already on the chopping block :blink:

With that being said, I will leave this skin and logo in place as a secondary skin choice......so anyone that wants RM to continue looking like this.....will have that choice.

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Don't change the logo though. That's perfect as-is.

My thoughts exactly, but that's only because it's my logo, and because some of the smaller details I put into it aren't noticeable at its current size. But I think a change in everything will be good. Some of the proposed ones are very nice.

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My thoughts exactly, but that's only because it's my logo, and because some of the smaller details I put into it aren't noticeable at its current size. But I think a change in everything will be good. Some of the proposed ones are very nice.

This current skin and logo will be deemed Retromags 1.0, then new skin and logo will be Retromags 2.0 :) I will leave this look as an option for those that want to keep it.

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