An Update 2 Years in the Making

Hello and welcome to the all-new Crash Mania! I can't believe I finally get to say that, as it's been 2 whole years since I first started working on this ambitious project. I hope you like the redesign, but I hope even more that you'll stick around to appreciate the true essence that is this enormous update.

The Reason

Crash Mania has always been something very dear to me, and it's the only site I have continuously updated for over 10 years now (in fact, it was my very first adventure in the world of web development). I've often given it a facelift whenever I felt it looked obsolete, and as my writing skills grew, so did my motivation to redo my old text.

At first this was only meant to be a visual redesign, fueled by the previous site's lack of responsiveness (in layman's terms, it would look the same regardless of the device, which made it impractical for things like phones). Then I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to finally take on a daunting task, which had been necessary for years: making a content management system, so that I could update anything much more easily and from any point connected to the Internet. You can expect pages to load faster and updates to be swifter from now on, thanks to the framework I've created. I've got big plans for that, and hopefully I can discuss them in detail in the near future.

A Long Wait

Though I started working on this whole thing way back in September 2013, I was unfortunately unable to fully dedicate myself to this site. Whenever I found a bit of free time (and I wasn't too tired from my day job or any projects I had going on), I always turned on my noisy but trusty laptop and did some work on Crash Mania. I don't know exactly how much time I spent on this update, but even though I sacrificed a lot of things (including my vacations a few times), seeing this whole thing up and running in response to such a large amount of hype makes it hard to regret any of these choices.

Not only that, but I've also learned quite a lot about web development and technologies in the process. In fact, this was another reason this update took so long — every time I learned something new, I tried to include in the site where it made sense. Similarly, I often redid a lot of things, because I kept thinking to myself: "Hey, this would probably be more efficient this way!" or "I think I can make this look better!". I actually had to stop myself from doing this at one point, because my ambition kept speaking louder than my desire to finish this site. I can definitely say I've vastly improved my coding skills and practices, and that alone has made all this work worthwhile.

New Features and Improvements

Besides the fancy new design that adapts to your screen, I took the liberty to rewrite every single page. You probably think I'm crazy (and you'd be right), but I've always had a habit of finding flaws in my past work, even when I wasn't looking for them. Since English isn't my first language, I spotted a ton of unusual sentences and errors from a long time ago, and because my understanding of certain things has also changed considerably (along with my opinion), I just didn't feel comfortable keeping the old text. Out the window with it!

Record TagEverything now loads faster and is easier to use, not to mention easier on the eyes. Since everything was once again coded from scratch, I added some new things into the mix, such as this blog (which was actually a very late addition). I also gave the Record Book an overhaul, came up with a better score system, and fixed all the bugs.

The Fan Art section is back, and I rethought the way galleries work (they're monthly now and I got rid of the obtuse submission limits). I do have to apologize for not importing the old submissions though — it was too much of a hassle, as the old site didn't even have a unified account system. Speaking of, you can now save your preferences and submit records, art, and comments as long as you're logged in. You can even connect with social networks if you wish.

To accompany the new visuals, some eye-candy has been added in places where there was too much text, and because the new site adapts to any screen, the game screenshots are now in HD wherever possible (a big thanks to Alen for getting me those amazing PS2 shots). The Crash-O-Pedia, now dubbed Encyclopedia, has new character models, and none of them are watermarked anymore. I'm aware that other sites will just grab them and "forget" to include the source, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who's always hated the watermarks.

You're going to come across many pages with unfinished content, or even some that are missing altogether. I'm still working on those, and you'll be able to see them instantly as soon as they're finished, thanks to the new system set in place. No longer will you need to wait for me to update everything on my computer and upload the files on a rainy day. You can also keep an eye out on the current progress by visiting the home page.

Early Access

Despite all the missing content (and there really is a ton of it), I felt like this was the most appropriate launch date for various reasons. For starters, I need to know how the site will react once it's accessed by a lot of people. It's a good way for me to get feedback and insight about bugs I might have missed. I tried my best to make sure that all the features are working properly, so think of this as a sort of test drive.

As you may know from visiting the old site, there has also been a recent development regarding the history of Crash Bandicoot's origins, and I feel that it should be covered as soon as possible. For that effect, I've inserted two new articles that you can find in the Backstage section (previously named Features).

And finally, I need to take a break off updating the site for a while (work on my desk keeps piling up), but I don't want to keep everyone waiting even longer. Since all the coding is done and everything seems to be working, there is no reason for me to delay things any further.

The Future

So what's next in store for Crash Mania, you might ask? Well, I still need to add everything that's missing. I'd like to write more blog entries in the future about fun things related to Crash Bandicoot, as well as upload some fun videos to the YouTube channel once I get the proper time and equipment, but that's not a priority at the moment.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure when I'll be able to work on the missing content. I really must attend to other things right now, and there is no way I can keep delaying them further. There is a chance I can start working on the remaining content sooner than expected (and maybe at a faster pace as well), but it all depends on how well my next idea works. I won't go into details right now, but I'll let you know what I have in mind very soon, especially since I'll need all the help I can get.

I'm also in the process of making some life-changing decisions about my career and what kind of future I want for myself. Crash Mania will play a role in that at first, and I've got other things in mind that aren't related to video games. I'll announce the first step in this difficult process right here in this blog, so be sure to check back often, as you'll probably be interested to know what I have in mind.

For now, just enjoy the new site. Thank you for reading!



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