Revamp: Valkyrie

Soooo… My last update and priority plans notwithstanding, here’s a massive update. Hear me out. I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun making layouts as I have this year, specifically with regard to graphic design, which used to be more of a necessary evil than anything. (That conversation with Andrea really did do wonders.) Immediately after setting up Song Cradle, inspiration struck for a layout I’d been wanting to make since 2017, but had no ideas for. I had even commissioned fan art from from dubiousdisc back in 2018, who captured the character and my intent perfectly, so it’s a shame that the piece has only graced my eyes so far. In any case:

Valkyrie — Yes! My largest shrine by a long shot has received a massive revamp. New layout aside, much functionality was added to bring it up-to-date with the standard of my current sites. (This shrine had been exempt from various quality of life updates in the past due to its size.) A notable upgrade concerns the gallery script, which has been updated from Fancybox version 1 to… 4.

The most significant and time-consuming update of all, however, concerns the text. I have thoroughly reworked all of the text across 40+ individual pages, rewriting what feels like nearly every other sentence for conciseness and phrasing (also shortening many sentences and improving punctuation), and shuffling some things around. Longer texts have been broken down with the addition of more structural elements, most notably subheadings. In turn, I have removed the various collapsible divs, because this network is synonymous with tl;dr by now anyway. As a result, text has been trimmed down significantly, though no content was removed.

The pages that profited the most from all of this are the super long “Group Dynamics”, “Symbolism” and all the relationship pages in “The Comrade” section, but also “Review”, “Performance”, “Thaw and Change”, “A Contrast to Lloyd”. I’d even say that the new subheadings add a meta level to the shrine.

Here’s a detailed update log, all new content included:

  • Added functionality:
    • in navigation: page-leafing, back-to-top button, active navigation marker, site map, h2 text;
    • in text: sub-headings on long pages, lists, distinct inline quotes, removal of collapsible divs (with two exceptions for otherwise unavoidable spoilers);
    • in galleries: thumbnail gallery, full-screen mode, zoom, slideshow, easy downloading;
    • in accessibility: semantics in text and structure, select alt texts, improved link text, contrast, rudimental mobile view.
  • Rewrote all URLs. Links to old URLs remain valid, with the exception of one renamed page (“Footsteps of Myth”).
  • Compressed all 295 images and all thumbnails. The total file size of included images shrank from something like 114 MB down to 35 MB omfg.
  • Added two pieces of official art to the gallery.
  • Added images to various pages, as there was a handful of official art that had not been used anywhere on the shrine, and newly available assets have allowed for high-res zoom-ins.
  • Rewrote the index page in its entirety, expanding the introduction and drastically shortening the rest by moving orientation information to the navigation, subnavigations and site map.
  • Expanded the “Context” page significantly, adding background information to the game’s development and its, uh, context. (My shrine, my salt.) Added information on how to acquire it nowadays.
  • Added a snippet of new information to the “Profile” page.
  • Added a link to an off-site rant of mine to “Miranda” regarding the infamous slap.
  • Rephrased a crucial part of the introduction on “At Journey’s End” in relation to the “Theme Song” page, which has been updated with a corresponding paragraph.
  • Redesigned the “Symbolism” page and broke down sections further.
  • Reframed “A Contrast to Lloyd”, emphasizing the angle of the narrative foil and adding a paragraph.
  • Restructured “The Female Narrative” significantly, and renamed subheadings for more substance. Its messages are conveyed way better now.
  • Redid the “Fan Creations” page in its entirety, updating all links and adding many creations.
  • Restructured the entire site part (“The Legend”). Cut sizable parts of “About the Site” and moved them to Song Cradle where they belong, added some others. Consolidated site background information into one page (“Shrine Motifs”) and added a lengthy section of commentary on the shrine’s new design.
  • Redid the “Linkage” page in its entirety, updating and adding many links. Long live the shrines of old! If you’re interested in starting a LoD project of your own, give it a look, as there are many interesting resources around at present. I have searched far and wide to compile this page and it’s possibly my favourite link list out of all my shrines!
  • Added new link buttons created at 4 am; creative insomnia is real.

Now, this shrine finally looks worthy of its status among my works. If you find any errors or have any suggestions, do let me know! The fan fiction page is, uh, still not up. I need to reread all the ones I’ve already handpicked, and want to leave comments prior to linking them. Last time I read them, their majesty and profoundness broke my heart so bad, I was in too much pain to go on. I’ll take some with me when I’m abroad the next month and try to take notes.

This has been a very thrilling and insightful impromptu project; I have added the revamp documentation to the Song Cradle. Shoutout to Larissa for being the best cheerleader!!

Fun fact: On exactly this day five years ago, I revamped Dornenkaefig!

in bloom: Valkyrie, Song Cradle

New Log and Site: Song Cradle

OKAY SO. I ought to be focusing on finishing some major sites so I can move on, or think about how to revamp the domain, BUT I COULDN’T STAND GOING ANOTHER DAY looking at my update log with its makeshift layout that sucked in terms of visual guidance.

I’ve had this manga panel for a while, unsure which of several projects to use it for, and with zero layout inspiration. After that silly splash page last week, I rode on the mermaid wave and, lo and behold, was proven once again that when it comes to graphics, it’s often best to open Photoshop and see what happens, rather than give it too much thought in advance and be deterred by the lack of concept. I certainly could never have imagined creating something like this! I reused a few assets that I had initially set aside for Refugium (and perhaps an Aquaria shrine in the far future)… It’s a set I’m so fond of, I could use it in three more layouts and would not tire of it.

Coding this layout was so much fun, it got out of hand very quickly. I LOVE MERMAIDS SO MUCH. I’m so enamoured with it, I debated using it for the domain instead, primarily out of fear that I would not be able to make something this pretty again, and also because it might be a while before I’ll have time again. In the end, I resolved to be brave and decided against it, as I already have images picked out for the main site and don’t want to compromise my vision. I also don’t just want to slap the layout over old content. Anyway:

Update Log — The log finally has a category page, and I’ve also added an overview of my current projects since I’m going to scrap that page on the main site. This leads to:

Song Cradle — This is a repository of supplementary material to the network, a project I’ve had in mind for a while. The site is an indirect effort towards revamping the domain, which I have been dragging out because I don’t yet have the space to think about what text to cut or how to archive it so it doesn’t clash with new content. The repository offers me a future space for any archiving needs, and slims down the hub content so that I’ll have fewer elements to design once I get to the revamp.

Essentially, I have moved all my post-mortems over… and was quite horrified at the amount of text previously tucked away on the main site. …Which didn’t stop me from adding Refugium’s documentation that is nearly a third of the actual shrine’s length. There’s also some other fun new content around, such as a timeline and an overview of tools I use to make sites.

I hope the new content is as fun to browse as it was to make it! If anything’s wonky, confusing or could be improved, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

These entries in the log are getting wordier, partly as a result of not plugging projects on any forums these days. Perhaps the weightier reason is that it has come to my notice that my sites are visited by many more people than I know of, and this is currently the only place for a bit of chatter on my part outside of largely static projects. In any case: Thank you for visiting, and for still visiting after so many years and after the long hiatus!

in bloom: Refugium, Song Cradle, Miscellaneous, Oubliette