After a few months worth of positive reception regarding our previous efforts at making a comprehensive mechanical guide – a 94-page Google Doc – on how to play Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Versus Maxiboost ON, I had an epiphany.
Very few people like to actually read a novel’s worth of information on a screen, particularly when the navigation of said novel leaves a lot to be desired.
As such, I made the decision to begin converting the guide into a fully-functional web application. This was roughly a seven-month process, in which I had crafted multiple prototypes, looked into multiple potential frameworks, scripting languages, utilities, templates, and more. I had thought that the simplest way to do this would be to leverage a wiki-style setup, but this wasn’t necessarily the feel I was looking for, and it certainly didn’t load as fast as I wanted it to.
Finally, I landed on using Vue.js to craft a site that would give users the information they were looking for with immediacy, as a heavy focus would be placed upon speed of information delivery, particularly on mobile devices. The way I saw it, if these players needed to access the site in a place where data – whether cellular or WiFi – was weak-to-nonexistent, the site should be so lightweight that loading speeds shouldn’t even factor into things.
When I started trying to develop this new version of our MBON guide project, it was a very difficult task; I had just moved my family over 1,300 miles away, I was full-force into the job hunt, and I was trying to juggle being a good dad, a good husband, a good job-seeker, a good interviewee, a content creator, a community manager, and now, a software developer for front-facing web applications. Naturally, I needed help, so I enlisted the assistance of Chris Lam to help me in crafting the main application scaffolding. From there, I set about translating the text, formatting, and embedded media into each individual section of the guide’s pages. It took a while, to say the least.
I had been smart enough to reserve the domain name well in advance, so it was just sitting there waiting to be used. When the site was approaching about 70% complete, we were ready to create deployment builds from the sandbox Git repo. I would take the development builds and create a deployment from them, upload it to a separate private GitHub repo, and then leverage the might of AWS to host the site so it would be as fast as humanly possible. This way, we could see precisely how it would work on multiple devices and screen types. It gave us the ability to hammer out any major issues with the new version of the MBON guide well before its official launch.
Once the guide was 100% converted from its original source, I transferred over the domain name and DNS from the original provider to AWS, and set it to go live alongside the “You Should Be Playing” video, as the end of that video announced the site’s existence.
It was a real tour de force to put it together, especially when it was alongside so many other simultaneous irons in the proverbial fire. but in the end, it’s something I am intensely proud of, it’s been met with resounding positivity, and it’s only going to be expanded upon in the future.