Saturday, June 13, 2015

The new [R]GARAGE - What to Expect as Le Mans Draws Near

"Just a day in my laptop designing Go-knows-what. I only have 4 days left in doing this so..."

For the past April, I have been speeding up on the [R]GARAGE redesign, yet due to real life circumstances you know everything was put into a total halt, and eventually all is dead. However, I promised that the new [R]G will feature new stuffs on the way, and a new design too. Many of these new stuffs are a mix of outright new ones and old ones, from my creation "infancy", that I have never released until today. All these new stuffs are those that shape and live up [R]GARAGE's new philosophy: more than just top-downs.


The proposed homepage of my newly-designed site. Note that everything is new,

Ladies and Gentlemen, you are all invited to the grand re-opening of [R]GARAGE site! Yup, after the long "Under Construction" sign that sat for quite a long time, the site has been redesigned faithfully with better a design while keeping the site's core and philosophy, and not to forget the site's theme of course. This new design also celebrates the (unfortunately way belated) 2nd anniversary of [R]GARAGE, in which its grand re-opening makes up for my missing the site's 1st anniversary. I have finally found my passion for site editing back, and it took so many decision-making processes along the way, especially in designing the site.

The web object designing affair though took more effort than designing the supporting pictures. As I use Wix, which allows for simultaneous Desktop and Mobile Web designs, it turned out that with the template I'm working on, the design looks good on desktop but not on mobile, and when I try to beautify the mobile look, the desktop version seems to have a bug or two. Fearing that it would affect the final release, I waste my energy on sustaining the 50:50 design approach: one design that looks good on desktop AND mobile. Thankfully, I have done this thing very well before the barrage of college activities send the activity to hibernation once more.

But somehow I wanted to make my own design. Sure Wix accommodates what [R]GARAGE wants in the design department, but after years I feel like Wix only fulfilled half of what the site wants to be. Somehow, I wanted to code everything for the new design, anything for the perfect form of [R]GARAGE's style, but with HTML5 tutorials floating on the net and the tools, the door is open for my taking. I haven't done anything about the own-design yet, but I do have a concept that has been in my head for years. Coding the site from the ground up would be a stepping stone in designing my own site. As for hosting and platform, I still haven't think those unfortunately. But I guess I would go just for fun for the remainder of this new design.


These pictures illustrates the new [R]GB section which is basically the blog section for the site and the new interface for the downloads.

Of course there are new sections on [R]GARAGE as promised. One of the most striking changes on the site is the inclusion of four additional pages each dedicated to MiniRacingOnline, TrackMania United Forever, GTR2 and rFactor. While the last two games are there to "mark the spot" as I haven't had any creation made yet, MRO and TMUF have a few downloadable stuffs which actually resided in separate sharing mediums of mine for a very long time. For MRO, there's The Mario Kart car pack, consisting of 8 characters, with the roster based on GBA's Mario Kart Super Circuit. This is one of my earliest, original creations which origins is inspired by Mikasa's Mario Kart tracks. Aside from the Mario Kart pack, there are F2 Kit Cars and Ridge Racer Cars pack too. The former consists of five select Formula 2-spec Kit Cars while the latter consists of six cars whose lineup is inspired by Ridge Racer 64. Sadly, they were yet relevant from their original game counterparts. With MRO now uses SDL2 graphics and cars are now renderable in *.png, the downloads for future cars will follow this rule from now on. While for TMUF, there are some tracks I have made from my very past in separate Trackmania Exchange sites. Only one track on United Exchange (the Supreme GT Round 1) while the rest are on Nations Exchange (my earliest creations).

Another new section is the profile page dubbed as "What's [R]G?" which explains [R]GARAGE's profile and history. Initially I wrote slight profile paragraphs in the home page, but with the sudden new design direction, I decided to put it on a separate page, but in return the profile paragraph is more detailed. The real cherry topping of it all though is the blog section dubbed "[R]GB", which stands for [R]G Blog. This blog is limited to spotlights / profiles and announcements of new contents, and is a result of a decision which actually took place a long time ago, just before the new design is implemented. This very blog initially slated to be the blog section of the site, but realizing that I couldn't figure it out how to link this blog to the site's navigation bar, the said decision was made. Some of the posts in the [R]GB may parallel to select posts found here, yet once again it is limited to the six aforementioned games in order to make sure that the site always achieves its focus.

Not just the "outside", but the "inside" is given its makeover too, with it being in a form of the very important stuff needed in every download: the Readme files, just like the old times. This has to be the most-awaited important surprise in every cereal box, which actually takes attribution to a new level. On RendyTUNED days, the readme files were awfully written, especially the descriptions. With the current site condition, the RendyTUNED-era readmes are obviously outdated and it is time to give a way to a newer one. In recent releases, there were no Readme files in each release, and that it would be a real shame if I went backwards in creating stuffs: having Readmes in my infancy and losing it in my maturity. Starting on the release of the new site, all downloads will have the new attribution readme files, and so do the future stuffs to be released here and there.

Last but not least is the social media advertisement for the stuffs. This will be done via my Facebook and Twitter and will showcase which content will be made, how its progress go, how does it look in game, et cetera. Doing in on personal accounts via Twitter is easy peasy but there's this urge for me to make the official [R]G accounts on both Facebook (as a fanpage) and Twitter to ensure that everything about [R]GARAGE is posted under the brand's banner which spells for a more effective advertisement. One GeneRally player I knew used a fanpage to advertise his tracks, so I guess I could jump in, but with social media advertising comes a great responsibility to keep it active; running out of materials is not an option obviously. However, looking at how a social media marketing is done and learning from the days when I have stopped cross-posting, I guess opening both accounts would be my start in being a good social media marketer. Speaking of other social media choices, I'm sparing out Google+ and Instagram as advertising on both mediums might not 100% effective, but I'm still considering it.

The rest of the new contents will be announced in a time-based teaser release using my personal accounts. Whenever the site goes alive, the social media accounts will be launched and all teasers and release will be posted via those accounts from there onwards.


The battle is on! 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans will start in a few moment! (Image: Auto Express)

There's a good reason why you see the word "Le Mans" on the title: the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans race is coming! The French classic twice-round-the-clock race returns for its 83rd running, with the race being the all-out clash of titans, resurrected makers and new and familiar faces. Audi is the grand race's recurring throne-sitter after securing their 2014 race victory 1-2, but Porsche is out for blood with its prominent showing of performance in the past two rounds of FIA WEC, with the team entering three cars with different liveries that allude to the maker's Le Mans past. Toyota meanwhile has the biggest homework to resurrect itself from the bottom and try their best to finally taste the French victory. ByKolles finally rolls to the stage after their 2014 race absence, taking the finally-competed Rebellion Racing out to play in the Privateer LMP1 battle, while Nissan becomes the returning face in the top-level endurance racing fandom after its hibernation from the stage by the power of Netflix Nismo, and after a very long preparation of its highly-anticipated GT-R LMP1, their presence is not to be underestimated with.

In the LMP2 stage, despite the class will be going to an unpleasant route in two years, the diversity continues with the battle of SEVEN! models and three engines (Nissan, HPD and SARD). All eyes are on KCMG, G-Drive and non-championship JOTA Sport. The latter team has a lot of burden considering that the team won last year's race and has a mission to score its second consecutive win here. Meanwhile, Extreme Speed Motorsports has an eye-catcher in the form of Rolling Stone-sponsored Ligier JS P2s, but this is due to the fact that alcohol drink sponsors are forbidden in France so to speak, hence why you see this instead of its usual Tequila Patron colors.

Last but not least, GTE offers varying flavors of competition coming. In GTE Pro, we have Aston Martin Vantages battling against Ferrari 458 Italia GTEs, Chevrolet Corvettes and Porsche 911 RSRs. All works efforts, all come out to plaa-aay, just like usual. However, Aston Martin makes this affair special with its second Art Car attempt, worth noting that 3D Glasses are not included for seeing this livery, and I would prefer its first art car more than this design, but whatever it is the designer has done a good job so props to the designer. In GTE Am, Team Dempsey descends to the Le Mans with a hope to score the category podium after numerous failures in doing so. Pitting them though is the Larbre Competition Corvette and the Riley Motorsports Viper a.k.a the "Superbird" Viper, giving this year's race another proper American duel despite in GTE Am environment. Five makers represented in the GTE Am will make the battle royale in the category even more exciting, especially when you throw the Larbre, Riley and Dempsey in. Next year, Ford will be the next name to be in the Le Mans race with its Ford GT GTE finally revealed, making the next year's grid even more interesting. Their efforts will come in 2-2 formation: 2 in TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, and the rest in FIA WEC.

Earlier at Circuit de la Sarthe: Sparks flying from one car, presumably from an LMP1 via one of the Nismo GT-R LMP1s' on-board camera. Color yourself amused (Image: Mattzel89 on Twitter)

With all three qualifying sessions has finished at the time of this blog post, the #18 Porsche has taken the pole with a sensational lap time of 3:16.887 courtesy of Swiss driver Neel Jani, and apparently the other two Porsche LMP1s follow suit and clouded the Top 3 place while all Audi and Toyota LMP1s trail behind, but Nissan seemed to be the slowest of the bunch in the qualifying, even in contrast to the works LMP1s and the leading LMP2. However, whether Nissan is cringe-worthy slow or the marque has another trick up in its sleeves for the main race is unknown. KCMG's Nissan-powered Oreca 05 led the LMP2 qualifying with other Nissan-powered cars of G-Drive's Ligier JS P2, Greaves's Zytek Gibson and another Zytek Gibson of JOTA Sport with the Ligier-HPD Oak Racing somewhere in the middle and the Rolling Stone-powered ESM Ligier-HPD on the last places in category.

GTE Pro has #99 Aston Martin V8 ruled the lead courtesy of Richie Stanaway with #51 AF Corse and #97 Aston Martin Art Car scoring third. The big crash that suffered #63 Corvette Racing in Qualifying Session 2 meanwhile forced not only the team withdrawing from the race but also the session to be shortened, thank goodness the driver was okay. Last but not least, GTE Am, with another AMR (the #98 one) scoring pole with two Ferraris of AF Corse and SMP Racing trailing behind. The Riley Viper and Team Dempsey managed to score fourth and fifth respectively, but for the latter, it's a good vibe for the team because this has to be their best result out of their whole WEC appearance, but let's see if they can get the podium this year. Complete qualifying results go here.

Unfortunately, penalties rained most of the entrants' parade, especially all of Nissan LMP1s, ByKolles, Ibanez Racing LMP2 and GTE entrants #71 AF Corse and #68 Team AAI due to the fact that they didn't meet the 110% rule (120% for the GTEs). The Nissan LMP1s are put back in the LMP grid alongside the aforementioned Ibanez Racing which will toughen the Japanese marque's LMP1 return, same treatment for the AF Corse car which they instead start from 54th overall for the same reason, with the fire-damaged Team AAI keeping company in 55th.

The competition is heating up, and the hype is better than ever! Cancel your plans, turn on Radio Le Mans, live online streaming or subscribe a cable channel that has the Le Mans race, and take your bet on which team will win their respective categories! It's game on at La Sarthe!


No comments:

Post a Comment