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The Worst Thing About Websites

April 8, 2004

You wanna know what the worst part about designing websites is?  It’s not the programming, it’s not the coding, it’s not the hours spent typing up lines and lines of content…

It’s the designing.

I’m learning all of these really nifty things for website design.  Now I’m trying to figure out how to integrate them into a website.  The only site that I have to practice on right now is my Library site, which is a pretty complicated site as it is.  I’m trying to figure out how to make the various bits do what I want them to do without the damn thing being a pain in the rear to update.  I figure it’ll give me some good practice for the departmental website by the time we get around to doing that.  Trial and Error and whatnot.  But instead of sitting here digging up the mass of writings I’ve collected over the years and shleping them over to another site, I’m sitting here trying to work out one of the more complex sections, the poetry pages.  I’m going around in circles on it.  I know I am.  I just need time to work it out in my head, but I don’t have the patience to wait for that.

Years ago I used to design levels for Doom.  I would draw out the map on graph paper, figure out how I wanted the critters to show up, where the traps should fall, all that good stuff.  And then I would go back and try to make it work.  It got easier over time, but sometimes the concepts I wanted to create didn’t want to  work in the engine that Doom used.  Some of it simply wasn’t possible until years later.  But oh God, how I wanted it to work.  Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night or be sitting in the car on the way somewhere and it would hit me.  Some of the work arounds were hard, dirty, and not worth the effort it took to bring them to life.  But sometimes….  Sometimes it was more than worth it.  Managing to bring a four story tower to life in an engine that didn’t allow you to stack levels was very worth it.  Figuring out how to make it possible for the player to go back and forth between the floors without actually leaving the level….  Man, that was so worth it.  It involved a lot of copying of textures and the secret was revealed the second you looked at the map, but damn it was cool.

For that brief few days before that kind of thing showed up all over the net, I had It.  The solution.  The slamming, blinding, awe inspiring solution to the problem that had been turning in my head.  It drove me.

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