The skin for Starcraft2.net has been completed and is now up and running on the site. Go take a look and tell me what you think.
Actually, the skin is about 85% done. There are a number of small modifications and improvements I’ve requested, and they should be completed by Tuesday. Overall though, I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out.
I went with a new forum company I found a little while ago. I was surprised that it was the first time I had heard about them since I’ve gone on many “forum skinning hunts” in the past. Many people know that I’ve used Sheldon from vBulletinSkinz.com in the past. While he is capable of excellent work, he also takes eons to finish, and if you try to get a skin with him now, you’re going to have to wait 6-12 months (seriously) due to his waiting list on top of his long turnaround times. In addition, he charges $1,000 per skin.
I decided to not use him anymore because he takes too long; I don’t mind shelling out $1,000 for a beautiful skin, but I’m not going to wait 2-3 months.
This new company I found had me on skeptical mode from the beginning. Their portfolio had some real nice stuff; if I had to compare their quality to Sheldon, I’d say they were about 85% of his skill. However, listen to this. Their turnaround time is a week or less, and their cost is rediculously low; at a couple hundred bucks.
This is the point where dozens of people start asking me who I used. Well, as stated in an earlier post, I’m going to charge $25 to simply release the name of the company I used. Why? I’m not trying to be a bastard, but finding quality freelancers whether it be for design, forum skinning, or programming, is like panning for gold. And so I’m not going to tell everybody my secret spot where all the gold is for free anymore. It will hike prices up, make turnaround times longer since there is more demand, and also give possible competition a great resource.
So, if you really want to know who I used, it’s going to cost you $25. Sorry.
It took a little while to finish the transaction, but SC2.net is now mine and redirects to Starcraft2.net. It took some time to transfer the domain since the gentleman I bought it from was on vacation at the time and didn’t get home until a week later. Then there was the DNS propagation and all that jazz.
I’ll be honest. Shortly after I agreed to buy the domain, I started to question if it was a wise decision since it wasn’t exactly “cheap”. But the more I see “SC2.net”, the more I feel I made a great buy.
Plans for the site
A bunch of people have been asking me what my plans are with the site; and if I plan on keeping it just a forum.
My answer is that for right now, my focus is going to be just on growing the forum. In the future, if the forum gets a community going, I’m all for making a “front area” of the site. In fact, I may make a few front pages now, such as a news page, maybe using vBadvanced, an integrated WordPress installation, or something else.
The left side of StarCraft2.net will contain various links to other ‘side’ pages of the side such as replays, videos, links, etc.
As for growth, everybody knows that growing a forum is extremely difficult to do, and that there are not really any specific steps you can take to guarantee good growth. Right now, we’re just using word-of-mouth. However, I’ve been thinking of launching a promotional contest or two, such as a referral contest where the prizes may include a limited SC2 Marine Statue/figurine ($250 value), SC cinematic DVD, SC books, etc.
The skin should help us pull in people a bit easier now too.
An important side note, as reported in this thread, is that Blizzard has officially stated that Starcraft 2 won’t release this year. Therefore it is most likely that it will be released in 2008, as that would make it the 10th anniversary since Starcraft was released.
While it wasn’t expected that SC2 would release this year, the fact that it’s now official may temporarily slow down the ancitipation and interest of the general public, which has it’s upsides and downsides for me. However, Blizzard will still slowly update Starcraft2.com with new unit updates, etc. which should pass on enough renewed interest to keep everybody excited.
Are you a Starcraft fan? If so, why don’t you join Starcraft2.net and help grow the forum?
If you’re an active player now and want some tips or help on your game, feel free to ask me there and I’ll help you. It’d also be nice to get a little webmaster Starcraft tournament going or something. That’d be fun 🙂