TIDMADT is one of the most challenging websites I have ever worked on. There are so many different parts to it, and I work on adding modules and functionality to it almost every day. It is a labour of love, and I am absolutely thrilled when our members give me complements on the site. The Admins are all here because they love what they do, they are gamers at heart, and we believe in supporting our members 100%. Without our members, this site would be nothing, and all the hard work would be a waste.
I wanted to take a moment to talk ABOUT the site, about all the different elements that we have brought together to make it what it is. First, I want to give credit to the people whose work I stole because they DID work hard, and deserve the kudos. Second, there is quite possibly some legal requirement to do so…
Let me start by saying that almost every module that gets added to this site gets hacked all to hell to make it fit in and work with all the other parts of the site. At times this is done with pre-written mods, and at times this requires brute force modding. So far, it has worked out pretty well…
At the heart of our site are the Forums and Blogs, for which we used phpBB3 and WordPress. There is also (though we haven’t used it much as of yet) a Wiki, powered by MediaWiki. The security for all of these has been hacked together so that users only have to log in once to access all of these, and the security also helps control our custom Site Admin area (to manage features of the site not covered by the admin areas of the core modules).
For the main site, we started with the War Zone template from ClanTemplates. The site is great, by the way, and anyone who is thinking about starting up a Clan website can do far worse than browsing their site for a starting point. The first thing I did, however, was take their code and totally rewrite it. The basic site I started with looked fantastic, but I made the HTML/CSS more modular, and reworked it to fit my programming style.
Lorna, our WebMistress at large and resident expert on all things involving graphics, added the beautiful background you see to represent the myriad of interests represented on this site, everything from gaming to anime to fantasy art. The one piece of original artwork in the background is the girl walking up the stairs, which is a charcoal portrait I did years ago. She has been dying to work my artwork in somewhere to show that I am more than just a programmer, and here she found her chance! Filters were added to the original graphics from the War Zone template, image sizes were changed, and most traces of the original War Zone template have been removed, with the exception of the column format.
For the “internal” pages, I started with the DarkFantasy theme for phpBB from Gamexe.net. The style was created by Daniel St. Jules, and I loved it. The format, however, was only about 820 pixels wide, and I wanted to increase the width, so I hacked it a bit, playing with the graphics and the CSS to make it more what I wanted. The result became the theme used for all secondary pages.
I ported the DarkTidmadt theme over to WordPress. Normally, when I reskin a WordPress site for a client, I simply grab the default template, copy the files over, then hack and hobble them until they look the way I want. This was the first time I ever started a new Theme from scratch, writing each and every module required. It was a fun learning experience, one I had been dying to try, and like so many other things, TIDMADT gave me the excuse to do it.
All together, I call the theme “DarkTidmadt”. I started using the term when I began hacking the DarkFantasy theme, and simply copied all the files into another directory where I went to editing. I needed to call the new directory something, so DarkFantasy became DarkTidmadt, and it has stuck to become the semi-official theme name for the whole site.