Out-takes, Gameplay and Storytelling notes, and other miscellaneous ramblings from behind the scenes at Richmond Sims.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So, I started pushing a few buttons...

Got kind of stuck on the update I'm working on, so I ended up re-designing the blog instead!

When I started this, I was new to blogging, and I went for a simple layout... now I want to experiment with it a bit. 

I'm still not sure of this new layout, but the only way to know if I like it, is to keep it for a while.  I think the look of a blog is kind of like its 'signature' and as such, I don't want to change it too much... but I can't make up my mind until I've lived with it a while.

So, any comments?  What do you think of the bigger pictures?

... the quality won't be this good in my regular blog entries for a while, as I took the pictures for the next 3-4 updates well before I decided to change the size of them. 

Is it really annoying that I can't get them 100% centred, or is that just me? 

Is it annoying that my sidebar is now a... what... a bottom bar??   Maybe if someone wants to find something in particular they won't mind scrolling down... maybe I should put a note at the top of the page pointing out that there's all that stuff at the bottom.  It might be easy to miss.

Is there any way that anyone knows of, to have the pictures this large and have a sidebar?

Let me know what you think... either here, or on the next couple of posts, if you want to see it 'in practice'.  Hope to have a story post up tomorrow, although I'm still working on it, and its making me crazy!


  1. I do like the colors! You're right, that a blog's style comes to be a "signature" thing.

    Honestly? lol! The background is kind of distracting, like in a hypnotic kind of way, which doesn't really lend itself well to reading. And I like to read your blog, so I don't want to be distracted ;) But the new layout is good! You can swap out the background probably for another simpler one quite easily in the design tools.

    Or if not, I could probably tell you how to do it in the code.

    Hmmm, do you know much HTML? The sidebar is wrapping to the bottom because the blog column is too wide for the total allowed width. You should be able to tweak the numbers for whatever size you want. You can download a copy of your whole template, so that you have a backup if any of the changes you make don't work out. (Really though, if you're just tweaking numbers, I just usually copy/paste the current code into another page - you really can't mess up much if you're just touching the numbers.)

    You can ignore this if you're actually a web programming expert and know more than I do, lol!

    Everything is sized in pixels - like mine for example:

    #content-wrapper is 800px

    Then you want your #main-wrapper and #sidebar-wrapper numbers to add up to that - mine are 514 for main, and 230 for sidebar. (No, that doesn't exactly add up to 800, but there are padding numbers in there too - trial and error is fine here, you can just change the numbers back if you get it wrong.)

    Your #header number should match the #content-wrapper.

    If you want large pictures and a sidebar, then you'll have to make your main column at least as wide as your pictures, so I'd do about 650px or so, and then your sidebar another 250px. Then you'll want to make your content-wrapper and header image about 960px to compensate. (Give or take 10-20px in either direction.)

    Maybe give that a try and see if it works out.

    Anyway, lol! Yes, I do like bigger pictures. I've considered doing bigger pictures for my own blog too, but I've been going with 500px for so long now that I just might be stuck in my ways. I also post a lot of pictures in my updates, so any bigger than they are would really suck up my bandwidth.

    I don't know though, all this has me jealous, so maybe I might push it to 550 ;) I do have a refresh coming up with my new chapter in a couple weeks.

  2. Actually, after looking at the page source, it looks like whoever wrote the template for this design made those "sidebar" columns to stick at the bottom. You might have to change the template to get them to come up to the side.

    They don't actually bother me being at the bottom though, if you wanted to keep this template. When I'm reading a Sim-story, the content usually scrolls way down past a sidebar anyway, so wherever you have your extra links 'n stuff, you'd have to scroll for it anyway. No difference really.

  3. Oh geeze, and if I might just spam your comments a little bit more... lol!

    Do you have placeable skies in that picture?!? That looks awesome! Which ones do you use? And how come I haven't noticed them before? lol!

    I've been seriously thinking about finding/recoloring some skies to start using. Are they easy to place? Do they cause lag or anything?

  4. Wow, Laura, you need to write a tutorial on blogspot. I didn't know those things at all but I'm clueless when it comes to HTML.

  5. Yeah, for real, Laura! When my sister and I were changing the template for my blog (okay...when she was changing the template for my blog), it took so long to figure out where it was going wrong. We could have used you! LOL.

    The bottom bar doesn't bother me as like Laura said, you have to scroll to get to that stuff anyway. Scroll up or down, what's the difference? ;)

    Love the bigger pics! I believe mine are the same size as Laura's but my template allows me to go bigger, now that I think of it. Heh, maybe I should try it? LOL.

  6. Laura, feel free to spam... lol...

    I wasn't sure about that background myself, but it was actually one of the LEAST busy on blogger that went with my color scheme - apparently its popular to make a blog look like grandma's wallpaper! :)

    Investigated some more today and worked out how to put my own choice of picture instead of using one from blogger, and I think this plain texture is better, even if I can't get it to go all the way to the top for some reason.

    The fact that I was only using pictures from blogger might be an indication of how much I know about HTML and customizing things like this... lol... thanks for the much-needed tutorial! I'm not sure if I will change it or not... I like the look of it at the side, but I like this template... will see if I can find a similar 2-column template to experiment with, and see which I prefer.

    Not sure what the picture size is in px, its whatever blogger calls 'extra large'(showing my comp-illiteracy again!). Are you worried about bandwidth as in upload/download, or bandwidth as in photo storage?

    I use this to make the sky: http://www.modthesims.info/download.php?t=187229 - will add the link to my cc page, too. I have mixed feelings about it, though. You buy a small object in buy mode and place it somewhere outdoors on your lot. Then you click on the sky to change it to one of a dozen different styles. I really love this sunset one, and there are some nice daytime clouds too.

    Downsides: Once the object is placed, you have to click on the sky, not the object, to move or delete it in buy mode... and, you know, it took me forever to grasp that concept! :) It's easy enough to delete, but to move, you have to 'grab' the sky and watch the ground to see where the object is going, and its a bit awkward.

    Bigger downside: This only works when the lot view is set to extra large or whatever the highest setting is. If I move around with it on this setting too much, my game crashes - I only turn it up for pictures outdoors, then turn it down again. So the sky doesn't work for everyday gameplay. Also, the sky places itself between the extra-large distance and the large distance, if you can imagine what I mean - that is, you never get a real extra-large view because the sky obscures the most distant buildings/landmarks.

    Having said all that, its reletively easy to use, and appears to work with any camera mod - I use it for outdoor pictures where a lot of sky is showing, but I delete it from the lot when I've finished. I think the only time I've used it in the blog so far, is the pictures of Cory and Willow at the cemetery (same sunset), but I ended up cropping most of the sky out of them anyway.

    Apple, I second that, I lol'd when Laura wondered if I was a programming expert or something!

    Carla, thanks for the feedback... so far, it looks like the big pictures are a win, and the sidebar/'bottom bar' is, meh, whatever... :)

  7. Add... as if I didn't say enough already :) By camera mod, I meant, lighting mod.

  8. Oh good, the background you've got now is much better! :)

    LOL, I just know what I've picked up being married to a web programmer for almost eight years ;) That and I've been blogging just as long, and I learned everything I learned from tweaking and picking at pre-made templates and asking questions when I needed to. Really, it's not so hard, just dig in and see what you can change, and if you break it, put your backup copy back in.

    Hardly qualified to write any tutorials though, lol!

    Blogger also has some new template design tools - don't know if that's what you've been using. I used to use the old design tools to change colors whenever I refreshed my blog, and they were really easy to use. I'm not so sure about these new ones, but I'm due for a refresh soon, so I guess I'm about to find out!

    Awww, those are some pretty big downsides on the sky thing. Only in extra-large? Eeek, I don't know if that'll work for me, I can rarely turn my view to extra-large. Not if I want any detail in my pictures anyway.

    But you know I'm gonna give it a try anyway, lol! I'm quite obviously all about trial and error ;)