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May 25, 2013

Cross-Up has leveled up!

Is it just me, or does this place look kind of…different all of a sudden?

Yes, it’s true.  The old layout has served me well, but the time has come for Cross-Up to enter its third and most powerful form yet (whatever that means). With a new look comes the chance for new opportunities, and of course a new chance for growth and development.  I’m more than a little excited to show off the new look (as I should be, considering how much of a pain in the ass it was to get everything looking even close to what I envisioned), and I’m hoping it’s the start of a truly magical adventure.

Although, one can’t help but wonder…just who is that pink-haired lass on the right side of the header?  Lloyd is on the left, of course, and you can guess who's in the middle, but I can’t quite seem to put a name to that face.  Could it be that there’s some hidden element to the blog?  Or perhaps a taste of what -- or who -- is to come?


All right, then.  As the webmaster, let me be the first (and only one) to give a rundown of the changes to the blog.  Bear in mind that things could change over the next couple of days, though; a part of me wonders if anyone happened to watch the blog change every time they loaded a page.  So let me present to you, fair readers…

Cross-Up ver. 2013 Changelog
--New header.  I might change the background sometime in the near future, though, since I’m only about 80% satisfied with it.  Unless I get too lazy; the header took the most time to get ready by a long shot.

--New background image.  I was curious to see if I could add in my own background instead of a premade one via Blogger, and it looks like I managed to put something together.  Side note: don’t underestimate the power of PowerPoint.

--New tab layout.  If you’re the type to search for content via the tabs, you might have to break out of your habits.  The order’s been refigured a bit -- and if you’ll notice where everything is in relation to the header, you can probably guess why.

--New color schemes/fonts.  There’s a preponderance of greens and grays now, with one of the chief changes being the backgrounds of the posts.  Time will tell if it’s a good idea to put black text on a gray background, but we’ll have to see for now.  I’ll know something’s up if it starts to hurt my eyes.  (And indeed, the same applies to the text.)

--Community gadget tweaked.  There’s still a link to the Facebook fan page, but I only just learned that there’s a difference between “liking” a page and “following” it -- so in an effort to avoid displaying my utter failure to comprehend social media, I’ve added in buttons that SHOULD allow both.  So feel free to do so.  Likewise, there’s now a button to follow me on Twitter -- though the tradeoff is that the lists of tweets has been removed.  If there’s demand for it, I might bring it back; for the moment, though, I’m content with leaving it off.

--New Challengers gadget tweaked.  I’m following a crapload of blogs, but the gadget never really reflected that little fact.  No longer; from now on, there’ll be a hefty load of blogs for you to investigate and follow on your own, arranged via alphabetical order.  (Indeed, if you’ve followed this blog for long, you may recognize a name or two on the list.)  We can’t have a community if there aren’t enough proper addresses, right?

--New gadget: High-Level Posts.  Ever wanted to see some of the most popular posts without having to dig deeper into the site?  You’re in luck; from now on, the top four most popular posts will be listed and ready for access with one simple click.  It’ll be interesting to see what stays on the top the longest, and I might change the timeframe for the top honors (last month vs. all time, for example), but let it be known that the best stuff is right there and ready to roll.

--Increased number of posts displayed on main page.  It’s hard to say whether or not people are going that far, but if you scroll to the bottom of the page you’ll be able to see the ten most recent posts instead of eight.  That’s not quite a month’s worth of posts, but again, they’re being offered, and the hope is that it’ll help make things easier to find without much searching. 

--In the process of tweaking “under the hood” stuff.  I threw up that “Follow by Email” gadget a long time ago, but I never knew if people actually used it or not; I assumed not.  Imagine my surprise when I find out that they ARE, and that the numbers are notably higher than the World Warriors gadget further down the page.  (Hard to say how much overlap there is at a glance, though.) Of course, that means that I need to start paying attention to it, i.e. figuring out what the hell I’m supposed to do instead of…you know…NOT knowing all those options exist. 

And I think that’s all of it.  So yeah, here’s hoping that the new look might be beneficial somewhere down the line.  As for what’s next…well, it’s another post on Final Fantasy 13-2.  I know, I know, you’re tired of hearing about it and I’m tired of talking about it, but I wouldn’t have written it if I didn’t have something I REALLY needed to say.  More importantly, it may be one of the best things I’ve written in a good while -- so if you want to see me cut loose, be sure to check back tomorrow. 

If nothing else, I’d recommend at least skipping to the end of that post.  There’s a pretty good chance of some unexpected developments

Did I remember to close my facetiousness HTML tag?  Well, whatever.  See you guys soon, I hope.   


  1. Nice! Wish I could afford a custom theme for my blog... Sadly, it seems, I'll have to deal with my generic one for some time yet. My hobbies all drain a lot of money, and re-adding TCGs to that list recently didn't help at all.

  2. Matthias PendragonMay 26, 2013 at 5:00 AM

    I like it.

  3. Oh, you big kids and your web design trickery. If only I had the skill to use something more complex than a Paint program! Regardless, the blog looks very nice, and I can't help but notice my site sitting right on the side there. I'm pretty sure I changed my tagline a while ago, but many, many thanks anyhow.

  4. Truth be told, Paint is probably the program I use most. If you've got the patience to work with it, you can make something pretty fantastic. Of course, PowerPoint works pretty well, too, and the program I use for sprite art (GraphicsGale, a free version of which is likely still available for download) is pretty much just a more extensive version of Paint. Easy to use, but effective if you've got the ingenuity. And resistance to tedium.

    In any case, I believe in helping out those that put out good content. From one blogger to the next, if there's something that I can do -- even something as simple as adding a link here or there -- I'll give it a go.

  5. No worries. Generic template or not, I'd think that you can still pull in fans with your content. Although...out of curiosity, how easy/difficult is it to change your template on WordPress? Switching stuff around on Blogger is simple enough, and pretty much every asset you see here is a result of either the result of messing with template options or me adding in art I made via PowerPoint or GraphicsGale. (Seriously, that background? Made with squares and rectangles, given a gradient or two, and a special effect added via Imgur.)

    Well, in any case, good luck with things on your end -- especially if you're going all in with TCGs. I'm under the impression that those can get pretty rough. And there was this one time where...wait, we are talking about test call generators, right?

    (My facetiousness knows no bounds.)

  6. Good to hear. Of course, that only begs the question of what design the blog will take on this time next year, buuuuuuuuuuuut I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

  7. WordPress demands a monthly fee or that you're on your own website before opening that functionality up to you.

  8. Whoa, seriously? That seems unduly brutal...but I suppose that's the price you pay (pun intended) for success.