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Question What software did you use to make a dynamic game development website?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by BoxTurtle_Games, Sep 28, 2023.

  1. BoxTurtle_Games

    BoxTurtle_Games

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    I'm currently developing an open world pirate game, and was thinking that having a website with periodic updates on the game would drum up some popularity prior to its release. I tried using some of the basic, free website hosting software, such as Wix.com, GoDaddy, and Google Sites, but found that your creativity is very limited within these sites. I tried embedding SVG graphics, but most websites either don't support direct html embeds, or in google sites case, leaves an awkward border around the graphic. I saw that some users of this forum actually have websites of their own, so I am very curious as to how you made these, and if it is economically feasible to make such a website if you don't get much revenue.
     
  2. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    We're paying a hosting company. In my case I pay $14/mo for shared hosting and $20/yr for a domain through a company known as DreamHost. It's not the most affordable option available but it's too much work to transition right now.
     
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  3. BoxTurtle_Games

    BoxTurtle_Games

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    Would you say that using DreamHost is worth the investment, or are there any cheaper alternatives of similar quality that you know of?
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2023
  4. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    It's entirely up to whether you want an unmanaged website (you do everything yourself) or you want a managed website (the company offers a small selection of software you can customize). I started off with an unmanaged service because I didn't have a choice at the time.

    If I were starting over today I'd choose a managed website service like Squarespace.

    https://www.squarespace.com/
    https://www.squarespace.com/pricing
     
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  5. Since I worked for years in the web industry I know how to build a website. The problem is, I do not have the time. So I always leave it in shambles. You should seriously decide on some points before you choose:
    - are you sure you can build it yourself using standard stuff? WordPress?
    - are you planning to write it yourself or hire someone? doing it yourself will be time consuming or you will just skip it all the time (since English isn't my first language I will have to hire someone to write for me, so I chose wordpress)
    - if you hire someone to build it for you, I more recommend a WP host rather than a managed puzzle-site (professional builders like that more and can do more with them)
    - if you want to do something quick and dirty, just buy a squarespace as @Ryiah said

    Oh I have my domains at Google Domains (they are selling the business to SquareSpace next year, but I have a 5 years contract, which in theory they will have to honor).
    I have my hosting on bluehost for the website and protonmail for mailing.
     
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  6. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    I would avoid them with huge distance.
    Thwy lock your page into their services and then you stuck.

    I personally use over decade x10hosting, or x10premium. Been building on websites in past from scratch in php + SQL. But now since my time is limited I use WordPress and plugins.

    I keep domains on separate service, to not keep all stuff in one basket.
     
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  7. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Yeah, this, so much this. At one point I started setting up Wordpress but even that was taking too much time, and that doesn't even count the amount of time it takes to maintain the site because you will have to do that yourself with an unmanaged service.

    Just to give you an idea of the effort involved my dad has a website hosted on my account that he used to keep busy during retirement. He would spend a few hours a day adding content, checking that Google AdSense was working properly, and make minor adjustments, but he quit because the amount of time involved meant it wasn't even minimum wage and that was back when minimum wage was $7.25/hr. Minimum is now around $12/hr.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2023
  8. warthos3399

    warthos3399

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    I always use WordPress, i can mod and customize, and the hack protection is good :)
     
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  9. xjjon

    xjjon

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  10. mgear

    mgear

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    just to note: only if you keep everything updated and pick correct plugins and themes..
    otherwise WordPress sites are often easy target..

    I would be afraid of aws fees..

    even for that lightsail, theres small prints like:
    "If you exceed your data transfer allowance, you will only get charged for data transfer OUT from a Lightsail instance.."
    apparently stopping the instance also keeps some fees running, or if you pick something wrong theres added fees for extra services etc.

    (compared to "regular" hosting sites, you get 'unlimited' traffic and even if that would exceed due to some bad actors, you wouldn't at least get charged for it)
     
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  11. navinjuego

    navinjuego

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    Wordpress is the best one ever used in my career. Lot of customization is available and its easy to optimize as well.
     
  12. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    In my experience it is hell to optimise, especially when you use ready made themes and plugins, and even with servers that support various caching methods (litecache, memcached, redis).

    It sucks ass.

    Either go a more hardcore route (modx? although it may be a bit hard to find newbie friendly resources for it these days...) or even better use something like Squarespace instead, at least it's user friendly.
     
  13. WinterboltGames

    WinterboltGames

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    A $10 Amazon Lightsail instance (2 GB, two vCPUs, 60 GB SSD, and 3 TBs of bandwidth) + NGINX + Node.js + Astro. Setup takes less than 4 hours (if you have one hand, that is. With two hands, you can finish in less than an hour) and gives you complete control over your server and website.
     
  14. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    I have to imagine that one hour is with the experience of being a web developer because as far as I'm aware none of that is a WYSIWYG. A web developer can save time assembling everything they need but someone who isn't is going to spend way more time setting it up and way more time maintaining it.
     
  15. WinterboltGames

    WinterboltGames

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    Not really. I am not a web developer myself. And contrary to popular belief, it's easy to set up these things. The documentation for these tools includes many examples, and set-up for things like NGINX is a one-time-off thing.
     
  16. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Yes, in my experience setting it up was the easy part too. It was maintaining the website that was the difficult part and at the end of the day all I "saved" (not that you're really saving anything when you take into account the value of your time) by creating my own in that manner was a few dollars per month.

    If someone wants to learn the process that's one thing but in most cases it's just not worthwhile.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2023
  17. WinterboltGames

    WinterboltGames

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    Well, it depends.

    Setting these things up is a one-time thing, as mentioned before. The only maintenance would be updating Node.js or NGINX (which is simply the matter of looking up commands online or asking an AI chatbot to generate them for you).

    The benefit is that you get complete control over the technical and creative sides of things.

    Shared hosting might be easier, but has a lot of gotchas with some providers. Website builders are literal garbage unless you're building a simple portfolio or an online shop and don't care about the inner workings of your website.

    Also, since I am building the website for myself, and it's for my game and for marketing/sharing updates about it, I think the time spent developing it is very well worth it.
     
  18. PanthenEye

    PanthenEye

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  19. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    If you don't mind having to build the website yourself a paid GitHub account comes with the ability to host a static website. If you're on a tight budget and already planning to use their services for version control it's one way to save money.

    https://github.com/pricing
    https://pages.github.com/

    Here's an example of a website hosted off of it.

    https://jekyllrb.com/
     
  20. WinterboltGames

    WinterboltGames

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    Vultr is a very good provider from my experience, too. Highly recommend it.
     
  21. mgear

    mgear

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  22. Hi,

    So, this subject was moving around in my head for weeks, so I decided to make a little test-run with GitHub pages. I wanted to subscribe for the team level for a long time anyway, so I used a sale and did it (hosting custom sites on pages in private repo only allowed in paid subscriptions on Github).

    This became the end "product": https://lurkingninja.github.io/ and it is basically a very dumb site without any fluff and a bit worked on version of my https://lurking-ninja.com/ site.
    It was this long, because I had to learn a bunch about
    - Github itself (beyond git push)
    - Github pages, how to configure a custom domain
    - Find out how to configure a domain on Google Domains
    -- my emails should stay on Protonmail,
    -- the lurking-ninja.com should stay where it is on Bluehost
    -- but www.lurking-ninja.com should point to this site (I turned it off already, but it worked)
    - How to install and work locally with
    -- Ruby (I only saw it very far away until this and I wish this will be the case moving forward and curse those who made Ruby a thing...)
    -- Jekyll (this one is a half-way decent templating engine, nothing serious, it doesn't measure up to even Smarty and we mostly used that in the 2000s...)
    -- Editing markdown files in Rider is awesome(!). And I'm not kidding, this will be the thing I will miss about this the most. Especially because after that I just submit and push to Github right from Rider.
    -- I don't like the distribution of data either (a post's data are in the beginning of the individual .md file), it's obviously logical, but it's irritating when you want to edit multiple pages in relation to each other.
    - The deal breaker for me (and this is overly personal, it may not be for you): there is no way to program the simplest things like a contact form properly without outside resources.
    -- There are services for these things, but they cost more money (GitHub money and these resources combined are more than a half-way decent Bluehost subscription for Wordpress)
    -- You can try to learn how to use Azure Functions or Aws free offering or even Google Cloud. But they are overly confusing, big, store a buttload of data about you and you need to maintain a similar thing as you would with Bluehost (or similar WP-hosting place). So I gave this up. I have no time at the moment to learn cloud setup, billing, settings and work-flows. Azure also has an emailing service in beta, but it doesn't have a free tier, so you would pay some very low amount just for sending contact form emails to yourself.

    Capture.PNG

    So, after all this I arrived to the conclusion that my own website will remain on Bluehost (cPanel level) and I will have to fix my website there when I have the patience and the time. Because I can develop my own plugins in PHP and using WP.
    Although if you do not need ANY kind of dynamic page on your website, it can be completely static, then Github Pages is THE best way to go I think. And you are at less than $50 per year and you get the rest of the goodies on Github.

    Your mileage may vary, as usual, this is my conclusion influenced by my own needs and musts.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2023
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  23. adamgolden

    adamgolden

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    One advantage of doing your own website [that I haven't seen mentioned here yet] is that you write your own Terms of Use/Service, Privacy Policy etc.. vs. using a third party where your users (and you) are subject to the 3rd party's terms and policies. However, keep in mind that your website will be still subject to the legal system of the country that the servers are located in. Generally speaking, this isn't something most people need to worry about, but if one country doesn't share your beliefs and might find your creativity obscene or otherwise against their cultural norms, it may be wise to choose hosting from somewhere that is more ideologically aligned with you (or at least has strong legal protections for freedom of expression etc.).
     
  24. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Markdown is awesome. I'm writing stories in *.md format (and wrote two books), only using VSCode. No distractions whatsoever, just pure text and work.

    The Pages thing has an interesting restriction that git repository for your website has to be public. Meaning anyone can clone it. On other hand public repository does not mean copyright-free. So you could, in theory, upload a repo with restrictive license or no license (no license means - you have no right to use content aside from browsing it).
     
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