Craft Your Own (Beta!)

Previews · Nov 07, 2013

With the launch of our new Theme Tweaker, one of our goals was to make it easier, faster and more fun for users to create a great looking site for their community. Our new color schemes feature helped achieve this, and packed much of the customization up into ready-made bundles to choose from for each theme.

With all changes we make to our site, we ask our users to voice their opinions and let us know what they think, and yesterday those who love customization spoke up! While the new Theme Tweaker will certainly work great for many of our users, those who want more settings to tinker with without using CSS got left with too little options.

So today we're releasing an early beta version of Craft Your Own, an editor you can use to create your own, unique designs. This editor has all of the options available from the prior theme editor, along with several new ones!

For now this is only available to themes created prior to the theme tweaker update. To access this editor you can go to the Sites tab on the themes page and load up the theme from your site, if it was created prior to our Theme Tweaker, it will load with the new Craft Your Own UI.

* Being released early means this may have a few extra bugs and usability issues we'll be working to correct.

As always we love your feedback, so please share your thoughts below in the comments =)

Shivtr 2.0 Preview

Previews · Aug 01, 2013
It's the middle of summer and fiery hot, so what better time to grab a cool drink and read through this sneak peak at our next update! =)

This update was initially focused solely on the theme editor, aimed at improving and simplifying the experience of designing your site. But as we worked features spilled out to other areas and the scope of the update quickly became large. Really large. Like able to do battle with a Jaeger large! It was no longer a simple update to the theme editor, and now that its nearly ready we decided to name it Shivtr 2.0 -- so what's new?

Streamlined Theme Editor
Likely the most exciting highlight for this update is our new theme editor. We've streamlined the process of tweaking a theme to be easier, faster, and more fun. To facilitate this we've changed how theming works on Shivtr.

Each theme now belongs to a wireframe. The wireframe sets which elements are available to the theme and its layout. Wireframes allow us to offer vastly different themes, for example some may have menubars, or side panels, or avatar frames, or even a headline block as a banner. This allows us to break the mold and offer a much wider variety of themes going forward.

Color Schemes
Each theme now has color schemes. Whereas before there were multiple themes such as Crey Blue, Crey Purple and Crey Dark; in the new setup there is just one Crey theme, and it has the color schemes blue, purple and grey (the new Crey actually has 6 color schemes now). These color schemes style the base elements for you, such as the boxes, buttons and forms, and can be switched through instantly while designing your theme. They also work with any changes you make, so you can select a banner or wallpaper image and switch through each color scheme to find the one that matches best.

Preset Images
The banner and wallpaper elements, which are the two most customized elements in our existing editor, are now front and center in the new UI. While you can still upload your own banner and wallpaper, we now offer a selection of premade images for each of these. Combining color schemes and preset images makes it super easy to create an awesome looking game-specific theme for your community.

Simplified UI
And finally we'd like to quickly discuss the new editor's UI. Rather than having a popup topbar as you click on each element, the UI is now simplified into a sidebar. The design elements available are clear and easy to understand, and every action you perform on a theme is done with ajax, which means no page refreshes (even when adding css), making for a very fast and fluid design experience.

A quick faq for existing themes:
  • Site themes will remain exactly as they are. Your sites appearance will not change unless you choose to apply a new theme.
  • User themes, such as your private saved themes, will not be copied over automatically to the new setup; however, during the first two weeks this update is live you can email us requesting we restore any of your old user themes and we will do so. The reason these are not copied over automatically is there are hundreds of thousands of them; the vast majority of which are not needed, and they have poor compatibility with the new theming system.

Freshly Redesigned
Along with the new theme editor, the entire site has been redesigned. New branding, a modern look and responsive views everywhere, the new better represents our product now, and where we'll be taking it in the future!

Full-Featured Blog
Our official blog is receiving a lot of polish with this redesign. Blog posts are now organized into categories and have like, subscribe and share features, and comments now support nesting, likes, user avatars, and badges for Shivtr employees, so you can easily find official responses.

AJAX-Powered Site Admin
The Site Admin has also been improved and is now powered entirely by ajax, so it is fast. Really fast. The menu has been reorganized for clarity, and several new features have been added as well; including one of the more requested featured, you can now Transfer Site ownership from within the Site Admin.

Improved Games Database
Our Games DB now supports heroes for LoL, DOTA2 and HON; when your game is set to one of these, the heroes are available on your site and members can display who they play. Server Status is now shown for supported games as well, so you can see which servers we have status info for, and whether they are online or offline; this same info can be shown on your site with the Server Status block.

New Help Center
We are also releasing a brand new section to the site, our own help center. This new help center uses your Shivtr account, so you'll no longer need an account with an external service such as getsatisfaction. It also sports many new features including being able to vote up ideas and problems, see what we have under development, the new enhanced comments from our blog, syntax highlighting for CSS and Json examples and lots more.

GuildSite Polish
In addition to the changes to our theme editor and site, we have also packed in many enhancements to your community sites as well.

Updated Blocks
Many of the side blocks have been tweaked and improved, here's a few examples. The Site Stats block now shows graphs of your past traffic, visitors or both. The Recruitment block now allows recruiting by Class or Subclass. The Polls block now works like Progressions, allowing you to have multiple side polls if you want.

Modern Style
As a result of the many improvements to the theming features, the guild sites have received many visual updates. Pollbars and buttons now look more stylish, forms are cleaned up, and many new elements such as avatar frames and menubars are now available.

BBcode Spoilers
One of the more requested features we have had lately, BBcode spoiler tags, are also included in this update, which can be great for discussing tournament results and similar topics.

New Json API
For our more advanced users, Shivtr's API will be Json only and the XML API will be phased out. The new Json API is easier to work with, better documented, and has more information available. One example is the new game object showing your games info, faction, races, classes and subclasses. There are also new objects for server status, heroes, the logged in user and much more!

That's all for this preview! We hope this has been a nice sneak peak into some of the many changes we've been working on for the past few months, and as always we love to hear your feedback =)

Wireframes Preview

Previews · Jan 10, 2013

With 2012 well in the past by over 9000 minutes, its time to look forward to what we got in store for 2013, and there's no better way to kick that off then with a preview of our next update, Wireframes!

What are Wireframes?
Shivtr offers you a vast collection of themes available to use with your site, however these themes all rely on the same html markup, and therefore must have the same elements with the same placement for each one. A little too cookie-cutter, perhaps? Wouldn't it be great if themes could offer more layout options, using a variety of elements, that could be positioned differently?

We think so too! And that's where wireframes come in. Each wireframe provides its own html markup and set of elements that can be positioned anywhere. For example, one wireframe may position the main menu above the banner, whereas another combines the banner and main menu together. A more advanced wireframe may take the topbar and the information it shows and instead display it in a side panel with a responsive design.

Wireframes allow us to inject more variety and options into each theme, and will make the newer themes we release this year very interesting! =)

Color Schemes
Along with wireframes, many changes to the theme editor and themes list are coming with this update, and one we want to talk a little more about is color schemes.

Currently in our official themes list you will see themes such as Vas Red, Vas Blue, Vas Green, etc. With the next update, we will be grouping these themes together into one Vas theme. The Vas theme will then have color schemes available such as Red, Blue and Green. This change allows us to provide a cleaner themes list for you, and also makes our theme editor easier to use, as you will be able to cycle through the color schemes in the editor.

Simplified Theme Editor
While our theme editor is a great tool, for the vast majority of our users its a little overkill with too many options. Most users simply wish to select an existing theme they like and make a few customizations to it, such as changing the banner, wallpaper and some colors. For our more advanced users creating their own grandious designs, they typically forego our editor and make use of our Custom CSS feature.

We wish to embrace this more, so a streamlined theme editor will be introduced that is faster and easier to use for small customizations, while making CSS a more visible feature with better documentation for advanced users.

Overall, our aim with this update is to provide a greater variety of themes for Shivtr, while making them easier to find and customize. As always, we love to hear your feedback =)

Multigaming Preview

Previews · Nov 22, 2012
Today we have a preview of a new feature we’ve been working on at Shivtr - Multigame Support!

Multigaming allows a single Shivtr site to support multiple games, and that means game-specific features (such as character race & class options, server status and item tooltips) work for each game, and also that each game has its own data (for sections such as characters, journals, events, etc). Here’s an example:

As you switch games the theme of the site updates, as well as the list of characters gets changed, along with the race & class options, and even the side blocks for Server Status and Recruitment blocks update their data!

Adding Games: That Was Easy!
With the multigaming feature, one of our goals is to keep the cost of maintenance for the feature low. And by that we mean, a site with three games should not feel like three times as much work to manage.

To achieve this we’ve made several changes to how Shivtr works. First up, you no longer need to setup races & classes for your site. Instead, we’ve created a games database which supports a large list of games and has preset options for factions, races, classes and subclasses. Now, you simply select your game (and a faction if applicable) and it will load all the race & class information you need.

Next up, the layout for your site is global across all of your games. What this means is, rather than having to add a Server Status block for each game, and a Recruitment block for each game, you just add the one block, and the information shown changes as you switch games. This setup makes it very easy to add and remove games your community is playing, and also helps to keep your site consistent as you switch games.

One Bar To Rule Them All
The final change we wish to discuss is the new bar Shivtr sports across the top of each page.

On the left is the site actions and information. The site’s name, along with the available games you can select are listed here, as well as easy access to the Site Admin and Applications (for those with permissions to access them).

On the right is the user actions and information. The user’s name, along with a dropdown of sites they belong to is shown, as well as buttons for Who’s Online, Messages, Chat and Activities. These buttons contain counts and alert which update in real time to notify you of new content. This is aimed at making it easier than ever to catch and respond to new content posted to your site =)

That’s all for this preview, we’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts on our new multigaming feature in the comments below =)

Shivtr Mobile Preview!

Previews · Apr 18, 2012
For several months now we've been secretly at work on a small update for Shivtr... of course, small here refers only to the screen size! ;) It's our Shivtr Mobile Preview!

Mobile Guild Site
Our mobile update brings an entirely new interface to your guild, clan or community site. This interface is designed for mobile screens, and feels similar to a native mobile app, with fast navigation and easy to use actions. Here's a sneak peak:

The home page serves as a grid, allowing you quick access to each of the sections on your site. These sections obey the same rules as the web version, so they only show up if you have permission to see them and you have the feature enabled.

Once you've left the grid and entered into one of the sections for your site, you are presented with views of your data formatted for mobile. Each section follows a similar format, with navigation at the top and an action bar at the bottom (for actions such as add, edit, delete).

This should create a much more enjoyable experience when you want to access your site on the go. But of course, if you prefer the web version or need access to it on your phone, you can easily switch between them at anytime =)

Mobile Shivtr Site
Along with the new UI for your guild site, we will also be introducing a mobile version of the site:

The mobile version of Shivtr provides easy access to our blog for information and updates, as well as a hosting section listing the sites you own or belong to, where you can jump to or manage them.

A tools section will also be coming in the future, which will match the content from Currently only our LoL tools are up, but we will be expanding and adding tools for WoW, SWTOR, and many more games. These tools will be available as web apps and native mobile apps, so the tools section on the mobile site will include links to the different app stores where you can get them (such as itunes and google play).

So lots of exciting content is coming on the mobile front... soon, very soon! =)

Like the new content Shivtr is introducing? Tweet it, share it on facebook, +1 it on google or simply tell your friends and help make Shivtr the best gaming community on the web! The more Shivtr grows, the better it becomes, so help spread the word =)