Hey duders --- in case you haven't heard, the World Cup is going on right now and in celebration of the Beautiful Game, we are launching a special limited edition Quest Set commemorating the 2010 World Cup down in South Africa. This quest set just launched this afternoon and will run until the day of the final game on July 11, 2010.
Have fun with it! As for the 775 Quest Set we launched late last Friday -- it was a silly, last minute quest we threw together more as an inside joke than a serious Quest Set. If you feel that you were 'gipped' b/c of the limited nature of the set, PM me and we'll see what we can do. (note - I'm not saying we're going to retro-actively give you the quest, but we'll see what we can work out).
Hey duders, E3 is now upon us and while you'll be cruising around the site to check out all of the latest coverage, don't forget that there is a new limited edition quest set we launched this morning that ties directly into E3.
We have been a little dark lately in regards to launching new quest sets - so I just wanted to give you guys a heads up that a new will be launching next week to accompany our E3 coverage. It will be awesome.
We're closing in on a successful 2009 and I could not be more pleased with the way the site and community has developed this past year. We've managed to clean up a ton of code, improve a handful of important features and give you guys a better product than we had this time last year.
So what the hell have I been working on lately? Staff Tools and Bug Fixes.
We have a number of Staff Tools the editors and content managers use on each site to help them do their jobs. Since we tend to favor end user experience over almost everything else, we end up spending a majority of our time building tools and features for you guys. This typically means that we neglect staff requests and the tools that are built for staff tend to be hap-dash and a little janky. I recently went through a consolidation effort (consolidating commonly used code) and got on a kick to clean up a number of the Staff Tools for our editors - they work so freaking hard and their tools should not be a chore to use.
Bugs suck. But there is something kinda cathartic about finding them and fixing them and pushing out clean code. We just started a more formal process of stating and monitoring our bugs using a great bug tracking product called Lighthouse. With end of the year coming up, I just got into bug fix mode and haven't really come up for air to work on new features yet. In fact, this whole post is part of a test to try to track down a bug with the email notification system - ha!
I've had a wonderful year working on the site(s) and I hope you guys have had as much fun interacting with them. Look for more features, and more fun stuff coming early next year from the team.
Been a busy the past week fixing bugs and whatnot - but in between all of that, I've been secretly rolling out some tweaks for a new feature that I'm personally excited for. I say that I'm personally excited for this feature because I confess, I'm not on our sites ALL the time -- so I wanted a quick way to be able discover new activity that my friends are creating without having to necessarily be ON the site. I wanted my activity feed to be able to come with me wherever I go. I wanted this feed in RSS.
Up until now, your friends activity feed was only available on the site:
And when you went there - it looked pretty awesome - like this: That's all great and fine - but I wanted a more passive way to get notified when people I care about do things on our sites. RSS. I decided to try to write a more useful activity feed for me (and you) - to help us keep up with stuff that's happening on this great site of ours. So I built the RSS feed and pushed it last week. I've subscribed to it using my trusty RSS Reader NewsFireand I've been making tweaks over the past few days w/ Dave to whittle away spammy activity and to clean up the activity elements that we actually liked seeing in the feed.
Here what the feed looks like in my reader:
And here's what an individual activity item looks like:
Cool huh? So now whenever new stuff happens on the site, NewsFire will pull the new activity and I can check it whenever I like. So far, its been really useful and I've picked up a lot of stories, blogs, forum topics, etc. that would have normally passed me by.
A couple of quick notes. We ARE NOT displaying activity for a variety of activity elements that we deem un-important or spammy. So, you won't get Forum Posts activity in your feed, but you will get a new item when someone you follow Starts A New Topic.
Its still in beta, and its something I'll be working on -- so subscribe to your feed and give us some feedback. I'd love to hear what you like / dislike.
We just deployed another small addition to go with the new follow / activity code we pushed last week. This feature was launched last week for mods and staff and was opened to all users earlier today.
This page is just a start and will definitely see some more work in the next few weeks -- but its a preview for the type of feed we're working towards. Head over there when you get a chance and let us know:
what you like
what you dislike
what you want to see in this activity feed (more images, more forum posts, more relevant information, etc)
is it too "spammy" -- what could be filtered out to make it more interesting
what would make this feed more useful - being able to filter by content type, or by user?
voting - would it make sense to allow you to vote activity up and down?
comments -- would it make sense to be able to comment on activity?
We're laying the foundation right now and we're trying to gather feedback from you guys earlier than later -- so if you have any ideas they are welcomed, cause in the end, we're building all this stuff for you guys!
And as always, we're looking for bugs -- so if you come across any -- let us know.
Forgot to mention in my earlier blog post, that we just added two activity types to the activity stream:
Images (these are back and streamlined into one line)
We just got these in and we'll be constantly working on the activity feed to get it faster, smarter and sexier --- getting these new activity types into the feed was just the first step. Enjoy yourself.
Friends: The traditional 'friends' code is gone - please let me know if you see it referenced on the site anywhere.
Follow: In place of this is a more Twitter-like model where you 'follow' people (and they may 're-follow' you back). This should make it easier to track activity, blogs and status updates of the people (and soon, games, objects, etc.) you are interested in. All of your old friend data has been migrated over during the downtime today.
Activity Update: Activity was not scaling properly in its old implementation. With so many users generating so much activity, we had to ultimately take down the 'friends activity' feed to keep the site afloat. We have made pretty big changes and have re-implemented new activity logic that should enable us to bring you your 'followed users' activity in a feed. This is currently being tested w/ Staff and Mods and once we determine that it is stable, we'll be rolling it out to everyone :) We're really excited about this and hope you will be too.
Let us know if you find any bugs and look forward to some more new features over the next few weeks -- really excited about the future of GiantBomb.