Site Name: Planet Descent
Site URL: planetdescent.net
Site Owner: WillyP
Site Designer: WillyP
Theme Designer: WillyP
Site Genre: Game. Dedicated to a specific game.
Descent rocked the world with it's vertigo-inducing 3D, '6 degrees of freedom' action. One of the first fan sites to pop up was PlanetDescent(.com), hosted on the GameSpy network. Over the years, a close knit family of Descent pilots grew up around this site. The Front page featured a Soupe Du Jour (editorial), Picture of the Day, Poll of the Week, Descent News, links to a wealth of information and files related to Descent, and links a number hosted sites and member created pages. And there was a forum, coded by hand by the founders on PlanetDescent.
Unfortunately when GameSpy was bought by IGN, the decision was made to drop support for Planet Descent. Due to the age and waning polarity of the game, activity on the site was down, due to the age of the code, errors were frequent and those who had access to the code were nowhere to be found.
Around this time I noticed PlanetDescent.net was still available, and purchased it. I set up a Simple Machines forum and used Tiny Portal to reproduce the front page of the old site. It's not an exact replication, but it serves our needs well. As well as the dark theme I created to mimic the look of the original I also made an identical, but light colored theme for those prefer light colors.
SMF with Tiny Portal proved to be an ideal solution to re-create the functionality of the old site, as well as adding new features.
MODS: In addition to Tiny Portal, there are the usual anti-spam mods, and Ultimate Profile. We also use Avea Media for the gallery.
BLOCKS USED: On the front page, Picture Of The Day and Descent News are SSI blocks, Soupe Du Jour is SSI with some extra code, the Poll of the Day is custom code by Greybow, with some additional code by JPDeni to get it displaying the way I wanted it. In the forum there is a block for donations, shout box (Kaia's Box O'Helium), recent topics, and some stats.
Likes: I am not a coder, so I really appreciate the fact that I was able to replicate the features of the old site and add new functionality too. Many thanks to the SMF and Tiny Portal team for sharing their time and effort. And to JPDeni, who is sadly no longer with us.
Dislikes: The theme is not mobile friendly.
In The Future: I've been planning to make use of the Articles feature. Prior to Planet Descent, I had a Descent sight with a wiki and a fan-fiction site, which I've since closed. So the plan is to transfer those into articles. Even better would be a wiki and/or blog integrated with Tiny Portal and SMF.
I'm also looking forward to SMF releasing 2.1 with a responsive theme. So many people use mobile devices today it doesn't make sense to not deliver a solid experience for them.