After several unsuccessful attempts, many months of planning and implementation, some private setbacks, which continuously postponed the launch, much blood, sweat and tears plus copious liters of coffee the time has finally come. The website of for UNCUT! is launched officially!
With the launch, a ton of weight is lifted off our shoulders. We were sometimes getting the feeling, we might never finish with this project, as ever more obstacles seemed to pop up along the way. But with all of that behind us we are glad to be able to expand this site in the future. This site, which today emerges into the vastness of the World Wide Web, is but only an unfinished scaffold.
But why a website now at this time?
We were actually pursuing our wish to feature our own web appearance since the foundation of for UNCUT! in September of 2009. Right in the beginning of our community, for a short while, there had actually been a website, but that one was far from useful. After that we never had one again, as none of the team ever had the skills to create a sophisticated one, our web-developer at the time left the team and neither of the external developers who said they would help us followed through on that – which quite frankly was more than demotivating. But our minds were set on someday having a website and so going with our decision to progress with our project, we were finally able to secure enough help for a website.
Another reason for branching out to our own space was that Steam community groups, while being a good resource for connecting people, their outward impact and manageability was lacking quite a lot. This, too, might have been on of the reasons we weren’t always taken seriously by developers and publishers, as there was nothing palpable we could show for. But mainly the possibilities and tools one receives as a community manager are extremely basic, constrained and often even “kaputt”. For long, we had wished to escape those constraints and build up our own platform in order to become the platform we always wanted to be.
A small tour
Besides an optically more pleasing newsarea, which can be filtered or searched and will contain our news pieces in the future, we also have separate categories for our new forum, an info booth for collected information on youth protection and media censorship in Germany as well as a partner area to introduce our partners. A RSS-feed for our news pieces is also available. Some of our members have asked for – and it is finally here – a way to support our project financially.
Unfortunately, we currently cannot offer every part of our website in English. However, we have created a category for English versions of our news pieces that we deem interesting enough to an international audience. For those interested in the other topics but unable to speak German, we suggest using Google Translate for now, it is not as bad as it once was.
We actively support our members in the transition from our Steam community group to the website by providing a social login function. If you are logged into Steam on your Browser, you can easily and safely register on the site in the blink of an eye. We have also added interfaces for Twitter, Reddit and Twitch. An old school registering form for usernames and password is still available of course – the social login possibility is just there for convenience.
But why a new forum?
Basically, Steam is forcing us to do this. The integrated forum in the Steam community features isn’t only very constrained functionality-wise, the restrictions set upon us and our members by the Steam Subscriber Agreement (“SSA”) drastically impede some forms of discussions and in the past we had to delete threads that violated Valves terms of service. Frustration was rampant – not only for moderators but also for our members, who’s threads were close or deleted frequently. In our own forums we enforce only our own rules and do not have similar problems. So, from now on, you can basically discuss any topic, even those previously deleted ones about the usage of VPN. More freedom for discussions and higher functionality are all huge advantages which we will all come to love.
We know, of course, that adapting to our forum will take a while. We will leave the old forum on Steam running for a while longer and will have it available later in the form of a “Read only” archive. Many of the information there are of great value, after all, and lot of work and time went into creating them. All this should not have been in vain.
What does the future hold?
Over the next few months, we plan to expand our website with additional content and modules. Our Guide to German laws and their influence on PC and console games – our largest and most comprehensive work on the topic of protection of minors and media censorship – naturally very soon will find a new home on the site. In addition, we are weighing idea of launching a special curation functionality because Steam offers very limited possibilities there – once again. The “full reviews”, as they are called inside the Steam curator, would then lead to the new module on our website, instead of the Steam forums. In this way we can keep the display of reviews within the Steam Store and add to the information given in a meaningful way.
We need your feedback!
Starting a website is always the first step. Many different users mean almost endlessly different constellations of end devices and software – an issue that can not be well tested in advance. For some of our users there will undoubtedly be problems with the use of our website. Be it display errors, shifted spaces or other bugs, all of them must be documented and ironed out, in order to guarantee a consistent user experience on as many different systems as possible. We would therefore like to ask you for your support and would like to see as many of our members and readers as possible test our website thoroughly and report any problems that may occur in the megathread on bugs in our new feedback forum. In the forum, all ideas, suggestions for improvements and criticism can be expressed.
As always, the better and more comprehensive the feedback is, the better we can handle it and fix the issue at hand.
Final words & sweepstakes
We hope that you, our members, readers and loyal supporters, look forward to the future of our project. The site is one of hopefully many more steps that we will take in that future. To celebrate the launch, we have teamed up with our partners Gamesplanet, Nitrado and Medienzensur.de as well as our friends at Kalypso Media and organized a fine little sweepstakes with prizes worth over 600 Euros just waiting for you. What are you waiting for?!
Thank you very much for the great support over the last years and everything we face together in the future!
Team for UNCUT!