You may have noticed there have been a couple of little quality of life changes here and there. Here's a quick list of small things that have changed recently:
- Fancy new zoom effect and other little animations on the forum index to make the site more fun to browse
- Removed Self Promotion forum from the index, since it didn't seem to attract any use. I do like the concept, and would like to offer a useful place to promote stuff and participate in the larger 3d and science fiction scene, but clearly Self Promotion forum was not it. I'll ponder it a little bit, and maybe ask for ideas later.
- Finally fixed the missing Discord icon in the widget on the bottom of the page. Ugh.
As for some bigger changes, I've worked on the way the site handles images. There are two changes:
I've implemented a little more sophisticated way to handle the thread thumbnails you see everywhere. The plugin isn't particularly elegant. It just grabs the first image it finds in the first post of any thread and puts it on the index. The reason this isn't ideal, is that if someone chooses to link a huge image in the first post, the full image gets loaded every time someone browses the index, which adds up to quite a bit of bandwidth and less than pleasant user experience for people with slower connections.
To address this, I implemented ImageKit, which is a CDN for all kinds real-time image handling tools, including proper resizing (as opposed to just scaling the full image in CSS like we were doing). Basically, all attached images will get automatically resized to 240x135 on the index, which should come across as a more responsive index and a bunch of saved bandwidth. Externally linked images do not get processed, mainly because I couldn't get it working reliably for all sources, and I didn't want to process your images without consent, since you may be self hosting, because you would rather not upload your work on weird servers in the cloud for all I know.
If you're attaching your thumbnails, there's no action needed. You can keep doing what you're doing. If you're linking self hosted images, I'd like ask you to keep the resolution reasonable, especially for the first posts of a topic to keep other people's load times reasonable. Maybe link the massive 8k or 16k image instead of posting it inline.
Image Upload Limit
We also implemented a (pretty generous, we think) 4096x4096 limit for image uploads as well. This move is mostly for usability reasons rather than capacity ones at this point. Basically, we want to keep page loads reasonable for everyone browsing the forums, but saving on bandwidth and disk space is probably a good thing in the long run. If either side of the image is bigger than 4096 pixels, the image gets scaled down to fit.