Technical Forums section added

Based on a great suggestion from AtticusMars, I've moved Technical Talk and all its subforums into a new root category called Technical Forums.

The primary reason is to free up space inside Technical Talk, so discussions are first and foremost.

It shouldn't break any links or anything, but it does shove General Discussion a bit lower in the forum root.

If people don't like it, we can change it back, it's really easy to re-arrange things like this.

Sound off and let us know what you think. So we can ignore it haha. Suckers!



Replies

  • Joopson
    Offline / Send Message
    Joopson Polycount Sponsor
    It definitely makes them more accessible, and I like having them out in the open, and being able to see latest posts, etc, but like you said, pushes down General Discussion; not sure if that's a good or bad thing, if I'm honest. But no great inconvenience either way. I support it.
  • throttlekitty
    Offline / Send Message
    throttlekitty polycounter lvl 8
    When I visit, I like to check and see waas sappening in GD, it would be nice if it were more visible, but that's just me being picky. Oooor if there was a little less vertical padding on the headers?? :D :D ? :D
  • GhostDetector
    Online / Send Message
    GhostDetector polycounter lvl 3
    The changes seem pretty small and I think would be easy to get used to.
  • leilei
    Offline / Send Message
    leilei polycounter lvl 9
    Blender seems conspicuously absent

    Apart from that, it could be nice if it were collapsible, as subforums instead of being additional main forums. There's a lot to scroll past to reach General.  though implementing that probably goes against Vanilla's wheelinventing "simple" design philosophy
  • Eric Chadwick
    Blender's absent the same way Maya and Max and Zbrush are. They all have stronger communities/resources elsewhere.

    We have a lot of subforums already. But if there's enough clamor for a new section, I think we're willing to add it.

    I'll take a look at the padding.
  • AtticusMars
    Offline / Send Message
    AtticusMars greentooth
    Blender's absent the same way Maya and Max and Zbrush are. They all have stronger communities/resources elsewhere.
    Seems like that could apply to more than half of the forums in the technical section.

    Unreal and Unity not only have their own extremely active official forums but they also have stackexchange style answer sites for general questions. Cinema 4D has C4DCafe which has had more post in the last day than the C4D forum here has in the last year.

    Not advocating for a Blender forum, more that I still think those forums could be removed.

    edit: I do appreciate that you moved them out of the tech talk tho! :smile:
  • Eric Chadwick
    Maybe it's time to pare down, separate the wheat from the chaff.

    One potential downside to slimming down... unread threads would slip off the first page a lot faster.
  • AtticusMars
    Offline / Send Message
    AtticusMars greentooth
    Maybe it's time to pare down, separate the wheat from the chaff.

    One potential downside to slimming down... unread threads would slip off the first page a lot faster.
    I think megathreads do a good job with that. Especially in the case of Blender, the thread is huge, but it moves slowly enough and is checked regularly by Blender users that if you post in it you're likely to get an answer (at least I've always gotten responses from multiple people with my issues.)

    For the subforums with very few posts I don't think there's much danger in letting the whole of Tech Talk sort it out, I doubt there's gonna be a huge influx of C4D posts any time soon pushing everything else off the page. For the larger forums it might be more of a concern.

    Edit: Woops I guess you meant the opposite, still, I think megathreads are a better way to go. If there were a Blender subforum I probably wouldn't check it regularly so even if a new thread was at the top, I wouldn't see it for a while. But the megathread I am subscribed to, so every time a new post is made to it I get a notification. No need to habitually check a dead forum.
  • m4dcow
    Online / Send Message
    m4dcow polycounter lvl 7
    Well I think for things like Maya, Max, Blender, ZBrush there are other forums that are better suited to answer software related questions, and the questions about those that end up here tend to be game pipeline related, so not having a dedicated sub forum for those is fine. Alot of the DCC app questions are actually general enough that many of concepts apply for all.

    However for things like Quixel, Marmoset and Substance, polycount is sort of an unofficial support forum and those programs and their sections are relatively active, not to mention that the threads are quite software specific.

    There are also the people who simply don't bother to post in the appropriate forum no matter what.

    I think at the very least it would be useful to cull the less active sub forums like source, sketchfab and cinema 4d, there isn't enough activity in those to have posts slip off the first page anyway.

    On another tangent it would be good to encourage descriptive thread titles, like in 3d showcase it has evolved that if you post anything in UE4 (usually environments) your thread title starts with [UE4]. I can't even count the times people post asking about some issue, without any screens or what program they are working in for that matter.

    How such a system would look or work I don't know, but I think something along those lines would be quite helpful to both posters and readers.
  • Eric Chadwick
    m4dcow said:
    On another tangent it would be good to encourage descriptive thread titles, like in 3d showcase it has evolved that if you post anything in UE4 (usually environments) your thread title starts with [UE4]. I can't even count the times people post asking about some issue, without any screens or what program they are working in for that matter.

    How such a system would look or work I don't know, but I think something along those lines would be quite helpful to both posters and readers.
    We tried enforcing thread etiquette in WAYWO. Besides being a pain in the ass to enforce, on the whole it ended up hurting more than helping. No one likes being policed, no matter how nice you go about it. It ends up driving people away.

    Same issue with thread titles. There's no real solution, other than patiently explaining why a good thread title (and contents) helps the poster. Which is tedious.
  • m4dcow
    Online / Send Message
    m4dcow polycounter lvl 7
    m4dcow said:
    On another tangent it would be good to encourage descriptive thread titles, like in 3d showcase it has evolved that if you post anything in UE4 (usually environments) your thread title starts with [UE4]. I can't even count the times people post asking about some issue, without any screens or what program they are working in for that matter.

    How such a system would look or work I don't know, but I think something along those lines would be quite helpful to both posters and readers.
    We tried enforcing thread etiquette in WAYWO. Besides being a pain in the ass to enforce, on the whole it ended up hurting more than helping. No one likes being policed, no matter how nice you go about it. It ends up driving people away.

    Same issue with thread titles. There's no real solution, other than patiently explaining why a good thread title (and contents) helps the poster. Which is tedious.
    Yeah, I guess all of that would be difficult to enforce. There are some guidelines in the new member introduction thread so at least that's something.

    Not that it solves anything since many of the retarded vague thread titles in the showcase threads are made by long time members and not newbies.
  • pior
    Offline / Send Message
    pior interpolator
    For what it's worth, I can definitely confirm that getting these tech sections out of their previous "subcategory" status definitely helps them as far as accessibility and views are related, at least for me. This already made me curious to poke around the Unity and Unreal ones, something I never did in the past.

    Having dedicated ones per 3d app wouldn't be a terrible idea, that's probably something worth toying around with.

    Regarding the Blender mega thread : it's good for news and announcements, but really not that great when it comes to searching for a previously answered question. Sure, answers come fast in it but the issue is accessibility for later.
  • throttlekitty
    Offline / Send Message
    throttlekitty polycounter lvl 8
    I'm really not a fan of dedicated software subforums for Blender/Maya/Max/Modo, unless there's a heavy focus on some advanced aspect of each. I've always found them tedious to browse, sometimes the software matters in a question thread, sometimes it doesn't. I've always felt that it's healthy to see what people are doing in other software without needing to leave a subforum bubble.

    On the other hand, it can be helpful to dig through pages of software-specific subs to see what catches your eye. And archiving of old and useful information.
  • leilei
    Offline / Send Message
    leilei polycounter lvl 9
    Blender's absent the same way Maya and Max and Zbrush are. They all have stronger communities/resources elsewhere. 
    I've had bad experience with Blender communities though as they tend to be more for cgi film hobbyists than game art, with the common advice/critique being "turn up the subsurf"
  • Eric Chadwick
    So maybe we should have Tech Talk forums named something like [Game Art - Blender], [Game Art - 3ds Max], etc.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Or maybe  [Game Talk - Blender], [Game Talk - 3ds Max], etc.
  • m4dcow
    Online / Send Message
    m4dcow polycounter lvl 7
    Or maybe  [Game Talk - Blender], [Game Talk - 3ds Max], etc.
    Many times there are questions that deal with doing something in a certain program which is applicable to others. If those sub forums are split up you lose the situations where someone familiar with another piece of software can help/learn.
  • pior
    Offline / Send Message
    pior interpolator
    I think it's always important to keep in mind that what "sounds good/bad" can be quite different from what is good/bad in practice and in the long run. For instance I do agree that having many different tech talk categories "sounds bad" (and ugly or busy layout wise), but in practice the recent change is great. Thinking about it more it seems to me that it would be pretty damn practical to have dedicated sections for each major app, for those curious to learn about the recent developments of and questions about their tool of choice. Because it would make it all accessible in one click and would maintain a tight focus. To an extent this is the way Blenderartists works, with very granular divisions between scripting, animation, modeling, and so on, and it works very well.

    And for those curious to see the development and new tools coming for other apps : dedicated sections would totally allow that, because the main forum page would always show the latest, hottest topic going on for each.

    For instance, when I glance at this ...



    ... I can see in the blink of an eye that there is a discussion on the ease of use of Unity going on, as well as question regarding tiling seams in UE. By culling out the C4D, Source and Sketchfab question that would give room to show that a Quick Pipe tool for Maya is hot off the presses, that Blender has a new release, and so on.

    @Eric Chadwick No need to indicate "game art" in my opinion tbh, as techniques for rendered and realtime widely overlap now ...

  • AtticusMars
    Offline / Send Message
    AtticusMars greentooth
    I don't agree at all, in theory yes it is easier to see activity from the forum root now. In practice people are simply trained to ignore the forums that don't get activity. If they are not habitually clicking on them, they are habitually scrolling past them the same way people ignore the stickies.

    There is such a thing as too much categorization, especially considering how much overlap there is between application functionality meaning a Blender user might be perfectly able to help a Maya user solve a problem provided they actually see it which they're less likely to do if the thread is tucked away in a forum they never check.
  • Eric Chadwick
    I don't agree with your disagreement. :)

    It sounds like by your logic we should just have a single forum for everything and no stickies, because everything else just gets ignored!

    Some things will get missed, it's just the nature of a multi-forum system. Personally, I don't check the Dota2 section very often, so I'm sure I'm missing some threads I could meaningfully contribute to.

    I get you though about how far is too far in terms of segmentation. 

    Here's an idea... What if we had a subforum for each dcc app and each game engine, and we were proactive in moving any new threads into their specific subforums? What would be left in Technical Talk... general technique discussions? How many of those are there?

    I kind of like this idea. But I bet it has downsides.
  • AtticusMars
    Offline / Send Message
    AtticusMars greentooth
    I don't agree with your disagreement. :)

    It sounds like by your logic we should just have a single forum for everything and no stickies, because everything else just gets ignored!

    Some things will get missed, it's just the nature of a multi-forum system. Personally, I don't check the Dota2 section very often, so I'm sure I'm missing some threads I could meaningfully contribute to.

    I get you though about how far is too far in terms of segmentation. 

    Here's an idea... What if we had a subforum for each dcc app and each game engine, and we were proactive in moving any new threads into their specific subforums? What would be left in Technical Talk... general technique discussions? How many of those are there?

    I kind of like this idea. But I bet it has downsides.
    Dude come on... If you want to exaggerate then by your/pior's logic we may as well just keep drilling down into more and more categories until we have one for every possible task. Hell I'm trying to collapse vertices in Milkshape3D can someone open up a subforum so I can drop a question in there to rot for eternity? And if you won't, then why not? I don't want it to get pushed down the page in tech talk!

    The site basically feels like forums got added mostly on a whim. What is the point of the Polycount Exclusives forum with a single nearly decade old thread with a broken image in it? Is this a polycount museum exhibit or is there a real purpose to this? Or the Unofficial Polycount Collaboration Project, where all the posts are locked and their contents empty, presumably sucked into the void of irrelevance after the idea was instantly stillborn and slowly overrun with unpaid work requests.

    I'm not suggesting eliminating every subforum, the ones I want to see go are the ones no one uses. There's a point at which a subforum ceases to be useful and I think it is clear the C4D/Source/Sketchfab are way passed that point.

    Adding more app-specific subforums just seems like repeating the same mistake in an attempt to justify the ones that have already been made.

  • Eric Chadwick
    These four subforums have been removed. I've moved their threads into Technical Talk.



    Feel free to keep discussing these platforms in Tech Talk. If there's enough interest in adding these subforums again, we could do that. But as it was, there was not enough traffic to warrant them.
  • AtticusMars
    Offline / Send Message
    AtticusMars greentooth
    A victory for scrollbars everywhere
  • Eric Chadwick
    Cleaning shop...

    The 1 thread in Polycount Exclusives has been moved to News Archive/Interviews (Ryan Clark interview), and the empty section has been removed.

    "The 'Unofficial' Polycount Collaboration Project" had a bunch of old empty threads. Deleted them and removed the empty subforum.

    Moved a bunch of old collab threads out of Archives and into Unpaid.

    Moved some unused User-Gen Content sections into Archives:
    Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
    Killing Floor 2
    Team Fortress 2
    Warframe

    Moved old contests into Contests & Challenges Archives. 

    Re-ordered the forums alphabetically, mostly. (I know 2d would come before 3d, but 3d here has more traffic so it should probably stay at the top)
  • dustinbrown
    Where are the "better" forums for ZBrush, Max, Maya? I've had very poor results in the past when asking software questions on ZBrushCentral and CGChannel.
  • thomasp
    Offline / Send Message
    thomasp polycounter lvl 12
    for max and maya i personally would go straight to cgtalk to ask specifics but perhaps that's just out of habit and me being too lazy to ever sign up for the autodesk area. that should in theory be the first place to look at?

    anyway, just wanted to say the changes look good and less subforms, not more please! so hard to find anything when the subforums start to pile up. thank you. :)

  • aesir
    Offline / Send Message
    aesir polycounter lvl 12
    I've always suspected CGtalk died out because of how many sub-forums they have.

    The more sections you add, the less people click things.  How many sub forums do you think the average user checks in on per use?  2? 3?  I doubt more than that.  

    I think about 7 or 8 sub sections are the maximum for most users.  

    I also suspect that the people who use this forum the most are a small vocal minority that do indeed benefit from maximum separation and organization.  But it'll be less user friendly for most of the user base.
  • Kwramm
    Offline / Send Message
    Kwramm polycounter lvl 7
    some forums have solved the problem by allowing users to tag their threads with pre-defined tags. You can still have everything in one forum, but if you want to just see anything 3ds max you filter by the "Max" tag. The advantage over the search function is that not everything with the word "max" in it shows up, so the results are more relevant. Of course, this depends on users picking a tag when they create a new topic.
  • thomasp
    Offline / Send Message
    thomasp polycounter lvl 12

    aesir said:
    I've always suspected CGtalk died out because of how many sub-forums they have.

    i have no insight as for why their popularity dropped over the years but they had some heavy-handed censorsh... moderation over there and made the process of posting work a real pain which might have had a hand in driving people away. perhaps cghub was a reason, too? for those who come to forums to check out new work anyway.
    being run differently now though so perhaps there is still life in the old beast. although, now we have artstation....2003 isn't coming back anytime soon is it. ;)

    users do seem pretty active however around some popular apps like the ones mentioned. agreed they do have way too many sub forums that are basically dead hence my earlier comment.

  • Eric Chadwick
    Tightened up the main forum list a bit, shortened descriptions, killed the redundant "forums" subtitles, etc. Hopefully it's not too tight. I think things are still very clickable.


  • Joopson
    Offline / Send Message
    Joopson Polycount Sponsor
    I love it, personally. Feels so compact, but still readable and clean.
  • kio
    Offline / Send Message
    kio polycounter lvl 8
    the autumn cleaning of techtalk is great!

  • throttlekitty
    Offline / Send Message
    throttlekitty polycounter lvl 8
    Tightened up the main forum list a bit, shortened descriptions, killed the redundant "forums" subtitles, etc. Hopefully it's not too tight. I think things are still very clickable.


    Thanks Eric, looks great!
    http://media.giphy.com/media/10UeedrT5MIfPG/giphy.gif
  • pior
    Offline / Send Message
    pior interpolator
    The tightening is great in order to see everything without scrolling - very good stuff.
    However the use of bold text everywhere makes things a bit stuffy so this will probably need to be addressed later on.

    At the end of the day I think it goes to show that there is definitely value to just keeping things standard, pretty much just like almost every other forum out there. Thank you for your work Eric !

    - - - - -

    Regarding sub sections for tech stuff : without a doubt it can spread/thin things down, but there's not much we can do about that - that's the nature of CG and comes with the territory of the tools being complex.

    Keeping everything in a single, disorganized section is definitely not working though. It's not a either/or problem, it's more a matter of clearly defining a mission statement and having a layout to reflect it. The problem with PC today is that its mission statement is not super clear. For instance it is currently not a "art first" website since art hard to reach, and it is not a forum dedicated to custom player models anymore because no one here does that these days outside of Dota2 stuff. The forum is more of a "everything CG and 2D" website now, therefore there is some very careful layout work to be done to reflect that and minimize the time it takes for everyone to reach what they want to look at - because if not, it could end up like many other art forums out there.

    It's challenging but I am sure that it can be done.

    - - - - -

    [Edit] I'll digress a bit here but for what it's worth, here is a mockup of an "art first" mission statement, opening up by pulling recent images from the 2d and 3d sections and then giving access to the main sub sections first (2d, 3d, animation), GD, and then all the tech talk. Also all the unnecessary description text is removed to air things out.

    Of course I took a shortcut by duplicating the pictures twice but you get my point. 8 columns automatically filled by the first pictures of the most recent art threads.



    Now of course there is an elephant in the room : with such a system it is not possible to have visual consistency (since the spread covered is so wide) and of course, quality and skill level vary - meaning that it would feel more like Deviantart and less like the "sexy" curated art websites out there. I personally have zero problem with that as I really like seeing all kinds of stuff at all skill levels. Again it's all about mission statement - is PC a website that pushes for only the awesomest art to be displayed in banners hence "looking good" by proxy, or is it about showing everything and giving everybody a chance to be seen.
  • Eric Chadwick
    I like these ideas.

    The elephant in the room is actually dev constraints. Vanilla is hosting us right now, and we're on a shared server. So any changes we want are gated by the needs of their other customers, and any changes that would cause conflicts are denied the dev time. So it's really hard to get our specific needs addressed.

    To address this we're planning on moving to an open-source version of the forum software and self-host, which will free us up to develop our own site designs. Obviously this is going to take a lot of work, so it's a bit far off, but anyhow that's the plan.

    The little bits of CSS work I've been doing have been low-hanging fruit, the other things we really want are way higher up on the tree.

    Still, we could easily do something like this for the News page.


  • m4dcow
    Online / Send Message
    m4dcow polycounter lvl 7
    pior said:

    Please god no, it would be one step forward and 2 steps back. Sorting the forums out only to add a huge cluster of images on top of it.

    I'm all for polycount focusing on what it's really about but those magazine layouts are hardly unique. Almost every art based website uses them these days, and that would be fine if polycount was solely a visual site but there is a lot of technical as well as just general industry discussion here. At least with the likes of Artstation they are all about showcase and have categories and tags for people to sort, but we don't have that sort of system here not to mention many of the images posted here without their accompanying text or description lack context. I do think a separate link/image stream might be cool for those who want it, IIRC there was a site that just had a stream of the images in Pimping & Previews.

    As for Technical Talk, it isn't nearly as active as the showcase forums so there isn't an issue yet of things being pushed down too quickly. I've visited forums which don't yet have many users with dozens of sub forums and sections with hardly any posts and it is pathetic. If some software/topic has so many questions threads that start to clutter up the main section then it can simply get a sub forum as it has been done before.

    Exploring new ideas and change is great but I'm personally against the sorts of "features" that are very likely to strip the community out of the community.
  • Kwramm
    Offline / Send Message
    Kwramm polycounter lvl 7
    m4dcow said:
    pior said:

    Please god no, it would be one step forward and 2 steps back. Sorting the forums out only to add a huge cluster of images on top of it.
    agreed. I like that PC is relatively light weight unless you click on art threads. Makes it nice for accessing it on public Wifi, or in places with bad internet, like China. And if I want to get the big picture, there's always the main polycount.com page - and with that one I don't really find anything wrong.

    Also I don't think PC should become more like showcase sites. Sure you can showcase stuff on PC, but if you're serious about showcasing your work to land a job go to Artstation. But to me Artstation (and similar) and PC have different aims.

    Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but for the last years PC was pretty much perfect for my needs. There was no other site that felt as pleasant community, but also design and content wise. Could just keep it as is and spend the money on... I dunno, penis tank merchandise or whatever.
  • kio
    Offline / Send Message
    kio polycounter lvl 8
    on a sidenote, for viewing pc on mobile the thread/forums buttons are a tad too tight now - at least for me :)
  • Eric Chadwick
    kio said:
    on a sidenote, for viewing pc on mobile the thread/forums buttons are a tad too tight now - at least for me :)
    What device are you using, if you don't mind me asking? Can you pm me a screenshot?

    I'm typing on a LG G4 atm, 1440 px wide, and the spacing seems generous enough.

    We can tailor the layout (mostly) per device width.
  • pior
    Offline / Send Message
    pior interpolator
    The newsfeed as a stream/wall is a pretty interesting take on it ! One potential issue is that the actual news (announcements, contests, and so on) would be drowned down by all the other pictures. But maybe the news could occupy the top row of divs while the rest would be pics.

    Also and for what it's worth, a remark about the current newsfeed : the reason why I personally don't check it for art stuff is because it seems to be "semi-curated" based on posts being promoted to it. Meaning that since I am interested in seeing both good and not-so-good art (because I find great value in both) it doesn't really fit my viewing needs. I have of course no idea if anyone else feels that way, but there is no way to know anyways so I'd rather give my own very subjective impression on the matter rather that trying to guess what other people want :)

    Regarding an art wall not being to everyone's liking especially if placed above text links : here too the risk is to think in terms of "if it's not that way, it has to be that way". I think both can work. For instance the main forum page could remain all text based for those liking it that way, whereas a separate stream/art wall page ... could also have all the forum links at the bottom of it. The layout possibilities offered by thumbnails are endless really.

    (on a side note, I would of course assume that if a picture stream was to be included, it would rely on scaled down thumbnails rather than full size images)

    Sorry to hear about the technicalities coming from the forum hosting, that's a bummer, I hope it will work out nicely in the end !
  • Daew
    Offline / Send Message
    Daew polycounter lvl 3
    Another option could be to have a art wall separated, eg. news / forums / "wall" / wiki / drafts / etc. 

    And when you find an interesting thumbnail, you click on it it and it takes you to that thread (like how the news thread is atm which is awesome and im actually looking at more art on polycount, its also super cool to see animations in there. Not sure if it needs the descriptions though because if i'm interested il click on it). But just separating them so news can be news.

     I dont think polycount should be competing with artstation, but there are so many gems hidden in the forums, why not have less digging to get to them. 

    Though its understandable if its undoable due to tech constraints and again, thanks polycount admins/mods ^^.


  • Teessider
    Offline / Send Message
    Teessider polycounter lvl 5
    I like the new changes which have been made recently. Definitely gives more accessibility to the Technical Forums :smiley:

    I personally prefer how it is right now - The news feed has the nice thumbnails for the posts/topics and the forums themselves are separate from this. Keeps it cleaner i think.

  • Bhrazz
    Offline / Send Message
    Bhrazz polycounter lvl 11
    I don't mean to be rude but the technical forum is more of a ''support'' forum. I would actually enjoy a lot more if I didnt have to filter all the support request in the real technical talk.
  • kio
    Offline / Send Message
    kio polycounter lvl 8
    @Eric Chadwick i have an older device (galaxy s3), so a oneline title is only 0.4 cm in physical size - which is a bit too small for easy browsing. The forum pages-number buttons are actually a bit bigger and seem to work very well.
  • Eric Chadwick
Sign In or Register to comment.