Yes, the site looks very different and I've had to prematurely switch to this new theme that I'm working on for a few reasons, the main one is that changing certain aspects of the site to fit the new theme will affect how the old one looks for everyone else. Can't work on the new stuff while the old one is still there, unfortunately.
There's a fair bit left to be done, so I'll be gradually working on it.
Getting burnt out on tsumea
So, for the most part, I've been the sole person doing all the news item writing, article gathering, website updating and maintenance, and email correspondences, week in, week out, for this site for over 11 years now, and I'll have to admit that for the last few weeks, I've felt pretty burnt out. I just didn't want to do this anymore.
While on the surface, it probably doesn't seem like much is being done, but for the last 8 or so months and in addition to all the things I normally do for the site, I've also been neck deep working on a few things including the tsumea app for iOS (and Android later). It's currently about 95% complete, but getting to this point has been an exhausting journey involving learning all the nuances of a new framework (jquery mobile), building the app and configuring the site to work with it, and then deciding to scrap the whole lot to start again with a better framework because jquery mobile was just too slow, clunky, and feature incomplete (the version I used didn't even do static navigation bars - I hacked it in via css and it surprisingly worked, but an odd bug appeared where the nav would simply disappear afterwards).
So, it was off to learning another framework which does everything entirely differently, building the app and again, reconfiguring the site to work with it, and then rewriting the whole lot when a major update hit the framework. Configuring the site to work with an app shouldn't be understated, btw, I've done that three different ways already, and I've read in a blog elsewhere by another app developer who lamented on clients that didn't understand that making an app which works with a website/server is a sizeable chunk of an app project, and I can absolutely concur with that. Things are made a bit more challenging when I have to figure out how to do that portion myself since examples and tutorials were/still are pretty scarce for my particular set up. There's also another new big feature that I've been implementing on the site and app which has been fairly time consuming, but more about that sometime later.
With the news of iOS 7 and Apple's requirements for apps to fit the new screen size and all the additional things I wanted to implement further down the line for the app, I've realised that this project will be yet another thing I have to constantly maintain, update, and look after in addition to all the things I already do on the website. The other issue is if anyone is even really going to use it in the end, so I've doubted whether all my time spent on it will have even be worth it.
A time for change
I've entertained the idea of simply shutting it all down, and this choice would be ideal for me, but it would seem like a massive waste due to the time I've already spent on the app and the website. So, I'm making one last push to get the app finished, finish the features I wanted on the site, and then eventually reduce the amount of stuff I do on here so I can work on other things not related to tsumea. The things I need to stop doing include:
1. Writing daily news items on tsumea. It just takes too much time. I really do make an effort for each news item I write, adding some backstory or thoughts in addition to covering the news in question rather than providing brief summaries, but while other websites have many editors producing news for theirs, there's just one of me here. I've hired additional news editors in the past and paid them an amount based on how many sponsors we've had, but it wasn't very much, unfortunately. There's also the option of getting volunteers to write news on the site for free, but that's not an idea I've ever really felt comfortable with.
There's a lot of news that I would love to have on tsumea that simply doesn't appear because I just don't have the time or resources to cover the kickstarter efforts, blog updates, mobile games releases and updates etc from the hundreds of independent games developers we have locally now. And why shouldn't all this stuff be on tsumea?
That's why I've decided to leverage the services of Reddit as our main news source. It's as simple as posting a title and link in our tsumea subreddit, and it'll appear on tsumea. Anyone can do it, and it takes less than 10 seconds. While I'm saddened that our own news system will no longer be in service, tsumea's news is quite a nicely refined feature where each news item is categorised and linked to the developer and section that the news is related to, it's certainly a whole lot better than having no news on the site at all. In fact, if its potential is realised, this stream of news on our sub-reddit would serve as a better way of spreading information to a much wider audience.
2. Posting job ads. I'm planning to remove myself from the bottleneck of posting job ads and I'll be setting up accounts for verified local games developers to directly add and remove job ads on their own without any approval needed. This also applies to others who want to add events to our calendar. Just post it yourselves!
What am I gonna do then?
After the app and the new site features are completed, I will still be looking after our games developer list, as well as doing general maintenance issues. I also do hope to put up an article feature once every fortnight or so on any particularly interesting topics that come to mind. The goal for me is to stop working on tsumea all day and night, 5 (and sometimes 7) days a week, which I have been doing for so long now.
When I started tsumea in 2002, I had every intention to make games. I was a pixel artist and modeller once. My pixel art appeared in the Australian Commodore and Amiga Review (ACAR) magazine in the 90's. My big regret has been that I've spent so much time and energy on tsumea and so little on what I initially wanted to do in the first place, and that's making games.
Last year, I made a pengo clone with C# in Unity and I had a great time doing it. I haven't been able to do anything games related since I've been so busy with tsumea. Unity is so incredible now that making games is easier than ever, and I really don't want to be on the sidelines watching games development anymore.