BMP5.0 Milestone List
Our pride and joy!
Today, we are pleased to announce the completion of BioMedia Project 5.0, the largest and most influential milestone that we have ever worked on.
With the launch of BioMedia Project 5.0, we are announcing the completion of the following new features:
- A custom theme created by JMMB, created with a focus on Metro UI principles.
- Our WordPress streaming media system
- Our site forum, allowing for easier communication between BMP Staff and users.
- Improved mobile support on IOS with Android improvements in the works
- A completed image gallery, one of the most comprehensive in existence
We are also going to be doing things a bit different this year – we will be presenting a couple new things we’ve been working on at The Three Virtues Podcasts’ Chronicler’s Convergence event in January, so stay tuned.
What does the completion of BMP5.0 mean for you? BMP5.0 is our declaration that all the content from BMP4.5 has been successfully moved to WordPress, along with updates to content as well as new features, such as our revamped streaming audio/video streaming system and new image gallery, which we are launching today.
We are continuing the use of Metro UI as it is designed, for presenting content visually, which most of our content is or can be presented as. We started experimenting with Metro UI tiles after reaching BMP4.0, and completed converting all the links to content to Metro UI tiles upon announcing BMP4.5. With BMP5.0, we are updating the rest of the layout to be consistent with Metro UI design principles.
The forum we’ve launched is an integral part of the site, rather than just an addon or something we installed just to say we have it. This is an important milestone for the BMP, as it marks the point where the site transitions from a site for mainly streaming media to a place for interaction with both media and other users.
When I had the idea for a BIONICLE fansite with all its web media, my friends and I knew little about how to build, operate, and maintain websites. Our wish was to simply have a website for our project, to expand it beyond the realm of BZPower. In these early efforts on Google Pages(BMP1.0) and Google Sites(BMP2.0), we learned how to create basic websites.
When Tronec decided to go for a dedicated domain and server(BMP3.0), we knew this would be our big break. This investment gave us the resources to later realize that we had the potential to make the site look and work any way we wanted, with the freedom to choose any CMS that we desired.
Nat installed Drupal for us after we wanted a new look, we declared the new look BMP4.0, and we learned how to use, configure and maintain a modern CMS. I started searching for modern UI styles to improve the appearance of the site, and after seeing the Zune UI, I considered it to be the most aesthetically pleasing UI I had ever seen. I didn’t have the knowledge of how I could implement the design over the whole site, so I did the next best thing; I considered methods of implementing the Metro UI tiles that were a cornerstone of the Zune’s UI.
I went to the staff pitching the idea of using the Metro UI tiles to display content, replacing the lists of download links with tiles, and the staff embraced the idea. JMMB created a CSS framework for us to easily insert tiles into pages, and by BMP4.5 we completed the transition of the site from lists of download links to grids of tiles. This was the first time that the site was dominated with tiles rather than links.
After I first saw Windows 8’s new start screen and Microsoft started adopting the use of Metro UI across all of its products, services, and websites, I considered how we could take Metro UI further.
I asked the staff to put together mockups of how they would have the BMP ideally look, and we came up with a few mockups. The staff and I were most impressed by JMMB’s mockups, which combined a dark background with a focus on Metro UI principles. We would need to move to WordPress to use it, but this was not a point of contention – the staff and I were already tired of Drupal due to various problems, though our time using Drupal gave us the confidence that we would be able to handle whatever WordPress threw at us.
JMMB created a custom WordPress theme based on his mockups, which is what you see now. This would not have been possible without the time it took for the staff to gain enough experience, Tronec’s investment, and Microsoft’s developments with the UI. It all came together at the same time.
BMP5.0 is a special milestone for myself personally, as it marks the first time the site matches the vision of what I wanted the site to look like when I envisioned it in 2006, and I’m confident that many of the staff would agree our site is one of the most visually impressive. I also wonder what Crystal Matrix would have thought – I wish he could see us now. We set out to make a BIONICLE fansite that would bring back the nostalgia of BIONICLE’s media, and today I consider us to have fulfilled that goal – reality matches the vision I had. What we’re going to do from this point on will build upon what we achieved with WordPress.
I’d like to thank the staff for their hard work in helping us reach BMP5.0, in particular JMMB for creating our custom Wordpress theme and BMP5.0 banner.
What some users of the site may not know is that even though the site is not updated on a daily basis, many staff members visit the staff googledoc every day or every other day, and some work is done on staff googledoc tasks on a weekly basis.
These upgrades to the BMP bring it to the forefront of BIONICLE fansite design, making the BMP one of the most advanced BIONICLE fansites. Gone are the days of using a default theme and background.
Since we place an equal emphasis on streaming content and download, we work on the site as much as we work on the content. With BMP5.0, we have reached five major website revisions in as many years.
I have been working on a way to introduce newcomers to BIONICLE in ways more useful than scrolling through pages of files, which has been our method of organization ever since we started. This method makes sense organizationally, but it is best suited to those who know what they’re looking for.
To provide newcomers a way to experience BIONICLE the way we experienced it, we have been brainstorming ideas for year pages. Year pages will cover the events of the corresponding year in BIONICLE media, similar to a wiki page, but instead of the page’s area being 80% text, 20% visual media, the year pages will be 20% text and 80% media.
My thoughts are that the year pages should allow the media to speak for itself, telling the story, which is what it does best, while the text should serve merely as captions or very brief summaries.
We also have some updates to the image gallery planned, which we will continue to work on, as well as major changes to our homepage, which will be aimed at emphasizing current events, as we already have links at the top for main content directories.
The launch of BMP5.0 also allows us to focus on another project of ours, Project Brick. Project Brick will cover the LEGO media that the BioMedia Project does not, with the same mission statement.
Our original plan was to begin Project Brick work after we reached BMP4.5, but that plan was abandoned when our plans for the new theme emerged. Now that our new theme is in place, we will have a much easier time with Project Brick. We will provide more information on Project Brick as we get closer to launch.
This also brings us to another important point – the lifespan of the BMP.
The BioMedia Project will exist at least until we get our current projects complete. There are still quite a few things that we want to do with the site, and we have plans that extend out for the next few years. There are things that we want to do with BIONICLE that only we can do.
But when we complete those projects, we will be looking at the levels of fan interest. The BioMedia Project exists to bring happiness to BIONICLE fans; if there ever comes a point where we determine that either the staff or the fans no longer care about BIONICLE and what we are doing, the BMP as a site will cease to exist. There is no reason for us to be investing time and energy into something that people don’t care about. When we determine that point has been reached, BMP content will be moved to Project Brick as just another theme and we will move our focus and attention there.
In that way, Project Brick is our next logical progression – just as a number of BIONICLE fansites are now becoming general LEGO interest sites, our future lies in Project Brick.
An alternative future would be a merger with BS01, which if completed would mean the rebirth and completion of Crystal Matrix’s vision for the ultimate BIONICLE fansite. If that were to happen, I’ll let John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls explain:
And I can’t believe it’s coming true
God, it’s good to be alive
I’m still here and waitin’ for you
And I can’t believe it’s coming true
I’m blind and waiting for you
Over the years, we have worked hard to preserve BIONICLE’s multimedia history. We have acted as archivists and curators of the digital legacy of one of the most creative endeavors LEGO has ever embarked on, and we will continue doing so for the forseeable future.
The BMP is special. In this community there are numerous wikis out there, and an even greater number of forums; but there is only one BMP.
I hope that today I have managed to convince you that in the face of an uncertain future we are continuing to innovate, enhance, and invigorate the world of BIONICLE in ways that this community has never seen before.