So You Want To Be A Webmaster?
Gaming website creation - ideas and suggestions
by Fairuz Lokman
Thinking of creating a gaming-related site? Here are some ideas and information to get you started:
General Gaming News
There are way too many of these out there. If you really have to start one, don't bother unless you
have a direct source from the gaming industry feeding you the latest news. Never ever rely solely on
news from other news sites.
This kind of site will REQUIRE daily updates, and you will need to know how to install a news CGI script.
You'll need at least 2 or 3 news reporters in case you run out of news or fall sick.
And forget using a free website host like Xoom or Geocities. You'll definitely need a domain name for
this kind of site since you'll be going up against some really big corporations.
General Gaming Site - Reviews/Previews/Etc
Doing this by yourself? Forget it. You'll need a whole team to get it up and working. Maintaining
such a website is a full-time job, not a hobby. Unless you have a REAL company or sponsor to
back you up, you're gonna end up wasting your time. You'll be up against publications that have
been around since the eighties, so think before making the leap.
Mods / Total Conversions sites
A TC isn't easy to make, and they get outdated really fast. Just as you finish that Quake II TC,
you find out that Quake III has been released. Your TC has to have an original idea, and try
to get affiliated with a bigger site. And don't start this kind of site unless you're absolutely
sure you can complete the TC on time. There are way too many Missing In Action TCs out there....
Game Cheats / Tips / Trainers / Solutions
There are also quite a number of these sites out there. In fact, my site falls under this category.
In general, you'll need lots of webspace for your files. My site is already exceeding 50megs. Don't
ever link to the cheats on other sites/servers. It's very unprofessional. You'll get lots of cheat
requests through the email, so be prepared to answer them all. You'll need to update your site at
least once a week, although daily updates are highly recommended. Be careful not to get yourself
confused as an illegal hacking, cracks, warez site.
Specific game site / fan site
Now that companies like BlueByte are starting their own official fan sites for their games, you'll
be facing some stiff competition. Whatever you do, don't simply reprint the entire game manual online,
it's not going to be of much use to anyone. Except the pirated game users who don't have manuals, of
Get message boards and guestbooks and promote them as much as possible. Without a proper
community of regular visitors, you're pretty much dead so try as hard as you can to start a community
going. Try to start the site before the game is released. The game will get outdated within a few
months, so don't start late.
Gaming link sites
Generally a no-no. If you're insistent, get your own domain name. And get a links database CGI
script. Remember that lots of links will be dead or unupdated. Try not to accept links from Geocities
or Tripod as their sites never come close to the bigger, better ones.
The moment you have a single dead link, your reputation is compromised. You'll probably want to get
some friends to help you check out the links as those automated link checking programs never do the
job well enough.
Get it into your head that your site will never be as popular as the sites in the other categories.
Don't put up notices saying that your clan is elite and other bulls***.
Screen anyone who wants to join your clan carefully. And for goodness sake, be professional. Don't
put all kinds of weird things on the site. Good ideas to implement are highscores, gaming hints/tricks,
rival clan links, competitions, message boards. Remember that a sense of community is very important.
And make sure you select a good leader and STICK WITH HIM/HER.
Get lots of webspace, you'll need it. Make sure you have some good writers, and put up as many
tutorials as you can - graphics tutorials, level editing tutorials, etc.
Be prepared to have to answer lots of questions. Get as much info about the game as possible. In
fact, try to get to know someone who's involved with the programming of the game. Set up interviews
and keep your site updated at least once a week. "Level Of The Week", "Tip of the Week" are some nice
features you can implement.
Game Programming / Design sites
I want to see more of these out there! There's just tons of information about game programming that
the majority of surfers out there don't know. Like with Games Factory, any casual computer user is now
able to create high-quality action/adventure/strategy games.
Remember to put up lots of tutorials for DirectX, DJGPP, VB, C++ and whatever game programming tools
out there. You'll probably need lots and lots of webspace for all your files. You don't have to be
professional - as long as the content is there, people will visit you.
Needless to say, you MUST be an expert in programming. Good thing is, you don't have to update your
site as often as the other sites. Once every week is good enough.
Keep the size of your main page small, and please don't have more than two ads on any page. Sign up
with as many gaming link networks as you can, except for those that require a banner on your site.
When you start getting more than 1000 visitors per day, you can start thinking about your own domain.
Respond to as many emails as you can, you'll probably have to dedicate a minimum of half an hour per
day on this.
Don't publicize your site before it's ready, and NEVER put up under construction signs. The World Wide
Web is already several years old, it is no longer UNDER CONSTRUCTION as many people seem to think.
Keep your design uniform, and stay away from frames until your website is a few months old and your
experience about web design has matured. Anyone can make frames, but few can actually implement them
neatly and beautifully...
Good luck, and remember that you'll be a part of the driving force that's contributing to the enormous
growth of the web!
-- Fairuz Lokman
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