Same as the old Metrocop, but with a new paintjob! Haha, just kidding! (Sorta)
Today marks the third anniversary of Metrocop and I felt it was time for a radical change, at least aesthetically. Despite a few changes here and there over the years, the website essentially looked the same since 2012, and was not only becoming quite obsolete in some regards, but also had some long-standing issues. Therefore, I decided to bring it up to date a bit, hence the look you’re seeing right now – unless you’re in the future reading this post in another completely different look. Hi, Future!
So, in proper celebratory mode, let’s do a needlessy extensive look at the changes implemented, as well as some to come.
New Visual Identity
I believe I’ve hinted a few times in the past that I work on Marketing in real life, as creating comics with a videogame every 6 months (give or take a few) doesn’t exactly make a living. One of the
unfortunate side-effects of my condition employment is a love for branding and an amateur’s taste for logo design.
While I don’t think the previous logo was exactly broken, it never felt like it was unique enough to identify Metrocop as an online website presence and not a bullying NPC in a frankly amazing videogame. I imagine part of why it felt that way to me is that it used the in-game mask model, which made it stand out less.
When I decided it was time for a change in the site, I started to consider updating the logo as well to be more unique, modern and in tune with the simpler, cleaner design. I ended up turning to flat design, the current trend, which also had the advantage of being a drastic change compared to the skeuomorphic mask in the old logo.
The end result was the new logo you now see on Metrocop, featuring a cleaner, more typography-focused look and a stylized, flat illustration of the iconic Metrocop mask. The usage of blue as the color of choice was inspired by an early Civil Protection skin that had blue lenses (although it helps that blue’s my favorite color). Overall, I feel that it’s much more unique and stands out a lot more compared to the previous logos, as well as working very nicely with the new site design. Let me know what you think!
Simpler & Striking Navigation
Let’s face it – the old blog wasn’t exactly easy to navigate, what with the long menu and cumbersome scrolling. Thanks to the fine folks at Automattic, that no longer needs to be the case!
The new look uses featured images to make individual posts stand out in the home page’s grid view, which is great considering this site is focused on, you know, comics. I’ve even gone and added featured images to a few posts in the backlog and intend to add some more, just to make sure looking back is as fun as finding new posts.
I’ve also cleaned up the top menu significantly, keeping only the essentials for the benefit of readers. And I’ll be adding some new icons later on to expand the scope of Metrocop… but more on that later. Finally, it’s also worth mentioning: the sidebar is back! Metrocop’s had an on-again, off-again relationship with widgets in the sidebar, but (for) now they’re back, once again cleaned up to make the site more user-friendly.
Finally, keeping in line with the aforementioned visual identity, the site is simpler, cleaner and with bigger emphasis on whitespace. While I’m sure fans of the old “concrete” background will be upset, there is a purpose to this clean-up. Namely, given that comics are a visual medium focused entirely on images, I felt that cleaning up the site would help the comics themselves stand out more, removing distractions and making panels “pop” out against the stark white and blue. Ultimately, I believe it’ll bring the focus exclusively to the content, which is, after all, what really matters.
Responsive Web Design
Have you ever tried visiting Metrocop on a mobile platform, like a smartphone or a tablet? If not, let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. Metrocop was woefully behind the times in that regard, to the point that even I had a lousy time trying to see the site on my phone.
Now, however, we’re going somewhere! I’m still working out some kinks on some badly-written code of mine in individual comic pages, but you can already read the blog with ease on your mobile platform(s) of choice. Bear with me while I update everything and you’ll soon be able to enjoy comics wherever you go!
Coming Soon: #SocialMedia
I refrained from giving Metrocop too much of a social media presence in the past because, frankly, I expected that we’d get to, like, 20 Facebook Likes and 12 Twitter followers and then stagnate forever. While I still think that’s a very real possibility, it’s also worth noting that, in real life, I’ve had to extensively study and do work on social media management, so I’ve picked up a few tricks.
Therefore, I’ll be inaugurating Metrocop’s social media presence on Facebook and Twitter very soon, which will be linked in a couple of icons in the top menu bar, as hinted earlier. Why go social, you ask? Well, because it’s a way of accessing both new readers as well as old GMod comic fans/creators who’ve moved on. Not everyone bothers to visit a site daily, and even less subscribe via e-mail or join the forums, but if people are interested in ye olde Source engine comics, it won’t hurt them to add a Like or follow on Twitter!
That said, social media can be an unforgiving place for debuts, so I’m gonna need your help (yes, yours!) to bring it to life. All I ask is that, if you like Metrocop, give it a Like and a Follow once the accounts are up, please. It’ll help the numbers start growing and also show it to way more people! Spread the social love!
Coming Soon: Forum Updates
If you are reading this soon after it was posted, you may notice the forums haven’t exactly had a visual upgrade. It’s not that I’m neglecting them, I wuv them! It’s just that it’s tougher to create a new theme for the boards, so it’ll take me a bit more time to make them look as sleek and nice as the revamped site. I will, though!
I’d also love to see some more activity there as the place’s been slow in the past weeks, but obviously it’s not all up to me, otherwise the forums are just another Metrocop blog! Still, slow or not, I’ll definitely be showing it some love in the future, so stay tuned.
(Naturally, if you prefer the current forum theme, you’ll be able to keep it by selecting it from the dropdown menu at the bottom of the forums. If you’re really fond of the old look, at least you can keep it alive that way!)
Coming Soon: Er, uh, well… Content!
If you have somehow survived reading through all that (congratulations!), you may be thinking “that’s all fun and stuff, but where are the new comics? That’s what the site’s about, right?”
Well, uh, yes. Unfortunately, comics are even more time-consuming than the work put on updating the site, which isn’t really an excuse but still. That said, tomorrow marks the third birthday of The Adventures of Hercule Cubbage, so I’ll be talking about that sometime in the next few days as I know some people have wondered about its status. On the other hand, behind the scenes, another Metrocop comic is nearing completion, so you’ll have new content to read through soon. Finally, there’s also a backlog from a classic series I’ve yet to finish uploading, but it’ll come! Pinky swear!
In any case, I intend to keep the blog more up-to-date as well. Back when I first launched Metrocop three years ago, I envisioned it as sort of a Valve news + GMod comics site, and I think I’ll go back to that on some degree, but probably adding some more opinion pieces and such (because who doesn’t love to read my long-ass posts, he noted sarcastically). On the other hand, I may do away with the Comics Roundups altogether… and instead focus on individual comic releases, giving each the focus it deserves, and keeping the site more active as well.
That’s pretty much all regarding the new look, but more important is knowing whether you like it. Would you mind telling me?
If you’d like to elaborate, please do so on the comment section below. And stay tuned for more Metrocop news!
Oh, and happy birthday, Metrocop!