LANified.com Version 3.0
Published on 12/4/19, 3:42 PM
LANified! was founded in 2006 by BloodyIron and another individual that has chosen to remain anonymous at this time. In 2007, we launched our first website. BloodyIron built it with Joomla, and it was a steaming pile of hot garbage. We ran some events with it and attendance was really bad. We couldn't even pay for rent of facilities, let alone all the other costs we incur, or even pay ourselves. We endured with that website for a few years.
Then October 5th 2009 rolled around, and we launched our new website, LANified.com Version 2.0.
ReAn's blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifices to the old gods paid off. He worked very hard to bring us a brand new website, and it was glorious. We were able to finally process advanced payments (prepay) for tickets for our event, and the first event we actually sold enough tickets to be able to pay for facility rental. Plus with a whole bunch of other fun stuff, it was way better than the cruddy Joomla website that BloodyIron vomited into existence.
Over the years ReAn helped improve the website, and we made progress growing. We forged our glorious history. However, the technical debt that was acrued from writing the website from scratch started to grow heavy on ReAn, and was daunting. We wanted to do more and more, to make our events truly awesome, and that had a growing cost. Eventually it reached the point where any significant changes we wanted to make would require total overhauls to very large percentages of the website, and this continually grew in weight on ReAn as the years passed. Eventually to the point where we realistically could not bring any drastic changes to the website, and what we could offer. Despite how much well thought out the work ReAn had put into v2.0 of our website, it ended up being his slip-knot, tying him down more and more as we progressed.
We had to fundamentally change how our website works.
In early 2018 we had to come up with a different solution for our website. This was in part due to ReAn's limited availability to contribute, as well as the massive technical debt that was acrued over the 10 years that Version 2.0 was operational for. We needed something completely different.
Over the many years of our history, we have progressively used more and more open source technologies to address our functional needs. An easy example of that is nextCloud. At this point, we almost exclusively use open source technologies as core infrastructure that we rely on. Open source technologies have treated us very well, and upon evalution, it was decided we should leverage open source technology for our new website too. As such, we have used the CMS concrete5 to build this primary website. As of this writing, the entire Version 3.0 website has been built by BloodyIron using concrete5 and a bunch of addons.
There is a laundry list of good reasons why it was decided to use concrete5 to build our new website, but there are some primary reasons that we feel will very positively impact our ability to provide awesome gaming events and services to the public. Firstly, we will be able to make modifications to the website at a rate that is orders of magnitude faster than the Version 2.0 website. Secondly, since it is built on open source technologies, we will benefit from the works of others, and over time gain features and more from those contributing to concrete5. Thirdly, it helps us make this website actually awesome on Tablets, Phones, Desktops, and generally any device you could access this on; something Version 2.0 really was not built for. Fourthly, we will be able to leverage some seriously powerful functionality under the hood to do many functional things we simply could not do before. This will be first noticed the most in our coming Events section (it's not yet ready, sorry).
Decide for yourself what you think of our new Version 3.0 website. It has taken about 2 years to make (on and off), and a lot of work has been put into it. We will continue to develop it further over the years, and we hope it serves you well.
Why should I care?
Honestly, a lot of the work that has gone into this site, you probably don't need to care about. We say that because a good chunk of our hard work has been building the website to work really well, and not get in your way. You are not likely to care about how much better this website does its SEO, but we do hope that will make it easier for gamers to find us through search engines. SEO is just an example of the many under-the-hood things we have done for Version 3.0.
But there is a lot we want to do with this website that we really do hope you care about, when it is ready. Let's briefly outline what we are working on, some of our goals around that, and reasons why you might care about such things. These are some of those aspects:
- Events Section
- (Event) Services
- LANified! HUB
- Media Section
- Game Servers
The Events section will take a massive amount of work, namely because we want to add so much to it. We have heard a lot of feedback about what people would like to see from our Events page functionality, and there's a lot of stuff that we want to do too. All of which we have not been able to do with Version 2.0 whatsoever. A lot of these are goals, and we will try really hard to make them reality. Chances are they will become reality, but please accept our apologies if they either don't happen or take a while to happen.
First, we want to present the info on the page a lot better. v2 of the site uses a rather dated way of presenting the info.
Second, we want to run gaming events for all kinds of gaming, and this requires our Events section to do this in a sensible way. We will elaborate on this in the future.
Third, we want to be able to have team functionality on our website, and eventually tournament functionality on our website. There is a lot we want to do here, and for now we don't want to over-promise, until we can actually do it. But we really want to do awesome, novel, stuff here.
Fourth, we want to be able to sell many different kinds of tickets and stuff in different ways. This will be in conjunction with our Shop, but also with how we present info on the page better.
Fifth, we want to keep, but improve, the "Game Preference" section from v2. This particular functionality we found to be very worthwhile, and we want to keep this, but do an even better job of it.
Sixth, we want a better schedule presentation mechanism. We want to make this easier for us to do, as well as present Event schedule stuff in a much nicer and sensible way than we have been.
Seventh, we would eventually like to have a seating map thing.
That's a rough list of what we want to do here. There's more, but these are the noteworthy things that you hopefully will find worthwhile.
We have a significant amount of expertise in operating events and many facets of gaming. We want to take this expertise and offer new services to educational institutions to develop an eSports aspect of modern society. This is going to be a very new thing for LANified! and exactly what it will look like is in a state of flux. We want to help those that want to get into competitive gaming and eSports have the means, support structure and so much more to achieve this. This is likely to be a multi-year effort, and will probably be breaking ground, but we see this as the future of gaming in society, and we want to be a major player in this aspect.
In the past we have worked with multiple organisations to provide Event Services. Barcraft Calgary, Calgary Expo and Smash Logic are three primary examples of this. We are refining these services as we want to provide them to more external organisations, and do an even better job than we've done in the past. We also want to explore other services we could provide (did you know we provide IT Services?). Our v2 website didn't even mention this at all, and v3 already talks about it. We hope this can be a growing division of LANified!.
LANified! HUB is going to be a new service that is about as ambitious as our Events Section, but might actually be more ambitious than that. We are working on a communications network that we will self-host entirely, on servers in Canada, that will provide realtime text, VoIP and other communication to LANified! gamers. If you're thinking "Discord", you're kinda right. This is not going to be built as a way for us to collect any data about you. We don't want to make any money off of information about LANified! gamers, ever. We want to build this out to help gamers be able to connect with us, and with other gamers, in a very convenient and awesome way. No, we do not plan to displace Discord, or even necessarily compete with them. This is something we want to do so that we can provide even more awesome services, and enable LANified! gamers to keep touch with each other in many different ways. We are hoping to launch this in 2020. It is expected that you will only need to use your new LANified! account (when the new account system rolls out). We are seriously excited about this, and this has been in the works for over a year now. Watch the skies.
Historically we have put our event media (such as pictures) on our Facebook page. In our opinion this has been a rather lame way to post our media. Having to log in to Facebook, or being harassed to login by Facebook just to see our media, we think that's lame. Additionally, we do not believe Facebook actually cares about the privacy of its users, and we don't want to support that. So we will be building our own Media Section, moving existing media to it, and using it for future media. It should work a lot better than how our Facebook page has in the past.
Version 2.0 of our website only enabled us to sell one thing, a single ticket per event. We will be rolling out a new Shop where we will be able to sell many kinds of tickets, ticket bundles, and we also plan to sell other things that aren't tickets. This Shop will also be setup to accept new forms of payment, yes that includes major credit cards such as Visa, Master Card, (maybe American Express), but no Diner's Club, sorry. We will include PayPal still, and we may look at other payment options too (crypto?). We want to do a lot of very useful stuff with our Shop, and we hope it works well for you too! We have been wanting to overhaul how we do the sale of tickets and other things for well over 5 years, and we are really sorry it's taken so long for us to do something about it.
While we have worked really hard over the decades to make ourselves extremely available if you have an issue, question, want to give feedback, or whatever, we still feel we can do a better job. A small section will be built out where you can submit Feedback or request Help, for all those situations where other ways you could reach us just don't work or fit for your situation. This may or may not require you to login (what if you have issues logging in?), but we will try to strike a careful balance between "last resort asking for help" and "bots can't get in". Not exactly exciting, but we want to always be able to help you with whatever issues you may have with our services, or provide you the avenue to express your thoughts about what we do. If this section sucks, we most certainly want you to tell us!
We have been running game servers for almost all of our history, however Version 2.0 of our site did a bad job of presenting that. We want to present info about our game servers much better with Version 3.0, and make them more interactive as a result. This is likely to include some awesome Minecraft stuff, Avorion stuff, and other gaming servers. This is intended to be servers we provide to the public, not servers you rent from us (but maybe we might get into that in the future, who knows). Our Minecraft servers have been rather popular in the past, and we think we can do an even better job than that.
No, that's not all. We want to do a lot more with this website over the years. We hope it lasts 5-10 or more years, and we want to do so many awesome things with it. We want LANified! gaming, and our services to be the most awesome ever possible. We are really excited about making that happen, and honestly thanks for reading this far, that means you actually care. If you want to help us achieve our awesome goals, we want to ask you to tell others about us. And if you like what we do, tell them how awesome our events are and what you like about them. Sharing is caring, and telling others is the best advertising we can't buy. This is our next chapter, and it would be fabulous if you joined us for it. :) <3