Game-Rave.com is being rebuilt from scratch!

So the time finally came to make the big decision. The one that I had been dreading for the last two years, but was waiting for when it felt right, and this last week that choice was made:

I deleted Game-Rave.com‘s core database.

*Poof*

Gone.

I don’t mean like a theme, I mean everything I had ever done in the last 5 or more years, including all those LHP updates in this month, I wiped off the face of the server’s earth. It’s not as bad as you think, really.

I can feel the expressions and wide-eyes already, and that’s why I’m here to share with you the discoveries that made me realize no matter how many times I recovered the site, death was just hanging out side to ring the doorbell again.

The short, short, short version, Discovery  1: 

After the site died again the other day, I was performing the standard back-ups, but noticed something odd; the database itself kept timing out in the upload, right before what would be the posts archives.

Upon further inspection, it turned out at some point two databases of the same site were co-created – which meant all those 404 pages of early entires were because WordPress was pulling from the wrong database. Which meant I didn’t know which of the two I was now struggling with.  That was warning sign number one.

The short, short, short version, Discovery  2: 

The second sign came when I tried re-uploading the database and decided to peruse the content folder back ups. In a wordpress site, when you upload an image, it goes into a folder dated the day you added it. In some cases, based on the site, it will also auto-generate two more versions of that image for use as thumbnails or mobile sized imagery. So for one image, I should have 3 total. Upon opening the first folder to see what was in there, I came across 18 versions of the same image.

E i g h t e e n.

It turns out the various image plug-ins I had dabbled in / tried over the years weren’t saving over images…they were creating all new versions for themselves and keeping the old ones. Except this was still going on even when I had the removed the plug-in. So If I uploaded say…25 images to a Barbie review, there’s a good chance the site decides to make 125 more versions. That’s not just going to bog down the bandwidth, that’s taking up insane space that could be used for other stuff.

So when I realized I was trying to restore a house built on shaky ground that may end up creating more rooms than it needs…I set fire to the whole thing and burned it to the ground.

An honest to goodness, ground-zero scratch build on the server. Freshest install of a site I have ever done.

So Where do we go from here?

That’s the laughter part – only place to go is up. I haven’t been this happy with Game-Rave in a while. I have all the imagery on my local drives, the data fields are easily copiable from archive.org, and anything not I can just fake again, like the previous mentioned Barbie review. But most importantly, is that a fresh database and a fresh site means I can finally do what I’ve been trying for months; all new page templates.

The problem with my current theme, GamePress-R, is that it’s custom page types worked well for reviews – but not collector angle concepts like variants and the like. So I am no longer using it’s custom file types and instead scratch built new templates into standard WordPress posts. List of Game Page improvements which can been seen in D’s page include:

  • Main release image is now viewable above tabs, so it’s visible on the variant page. This removes the need to tab back and forth.
  • The review score, summary, and good / bad highlights feature an all new look, and are now confined to the actual review tab. No more looking up a game only to see “2 LAUGHABLE” on the Data page for no reason.
  • Data page table is scratch built to allow easier reading and flow of information. Insert body copy moved to within said table for a much more organized look.
  • Media Tab moves screenshots to the top for a cleaner look, videos are in second and I removed the magazine ad tab as that will be a project for a later time.
  • Using standard posts means the Categories are now unified across the site. So if you click “PSX Variant”, all possible posts will show, not just those in a custom type.
  • I’m adding more Category types as I go to improve tracking down what you’re looking for.
  • Blessedly, it means that every page now has the actual same template. I’ve actually been finding omissions and errors from the old pages (via archive.org) that are now being corrected in the new version.
  • The Patreon page got a whole new coat of paint, so your names are even bigger and brighter than before. 🙂

Even better, this means that I’ll be re-doing ALL the previous pages, so the entire site in and of itself will be one lean, mean, variant collecting machine. The problem is that any links that were connected to the site are now broken, so I need to re-add pages in the order of most important. Based on the Top 5 Pages widget and the traffic from JetPack, here’s my planned attack:

  • 1. Basic PlayStation site ‘text’ lists / front end menu (Done)
  • 2. Long Box Games and Subset Page, Working Designs Page (In Progress)
  • 2a. Assassin’s Case Page with Elemental Gearbolt Game Page for Link
  • 3. Living History Project games added, re-scheduled (done)**
  • 4. Subset Pages Games and Lists added / updated
  • 5. General Game Pages added back in.
  • 6. General PSX Continues, Demos added back in
  • 7. …to be planned

**We’re a month ahead on Living History Project pages, but all prior news updates are gone and will need to be added back in. That’s bottom of the totem pole for now.

One last positive is that besides all those duplicate images, there are a LOT of posts that would never be looked at again now gone. Old and outdated news / updates / rarely used features are no longer a worry.

This also means that since everything is standard post based, when the time comes for a new theme, everything will just carry over. Nothing custom to worry about.

This doesn’t affect GRTV either, so everything should be good to go. I’ll be adding pages back in every day – no rest for the eager.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. 😀

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