There’s been a bit more interest of late in the forum ‘award’ badges, which as gotten me thinking about their future. In case you’re not familiar with the award badges, these are the little lines of mugs* that people use in their forum signatures after each Novel in a Day, such as:
When I first introduced the badges, I set up a template that makes generating these images simple (time consuming, but simple). The trouble is, I never imagined that we’d still be running these events ten years later! While it’s pretty straightforward to generate whatever additional badges are needed for 2020, we’re going to need a redesign to cope with the 1,024 additional combinations needed for 2021, and a whopping 1,047,552 additional combinations to last us another ten years.
So… I wanted to give plenty of time to get your views on what you’d like to see happen to the mugs. At the very least, we’ll need to expand from two rows of five to some other configuration… or possibly just move to each mug being it’s own discrete image (so that instead of adding a single image for years 4 and 9, you’d add an image for year 4 and an image for year 9).
Thoughts, comments and suggestions gratefully received!
I think it looks nice to stack mugs up every 5 or so years. Since it would make the signature look a bit taller, the labels of “years active” could then be on the right side of the stack of mugs.
This is my crude rendition of a single 5-year mug stack with labels to the right. Probably need less work to generate the image, since it’s only the space on the right and the final mug that need labelling.
That was what drove the original decision to create combined mugtree images.
It’s all pretty low-tech… an Adobe Illustrator vector graphics file, with ten mugs, all switchable on/off, all switchable to show any year, then exported using ‘art boards’. So each individual mugtree is set up and exported by hand (hence only producing the combinations people have taken part in rather than all possible combinations).
It’s simple, but labour intensive - increasingly so as extra years increase the combinations. We added roughy 25 additional combinations this time, and that number will get larger every year — plus the AI file will need a substantial redesign if I continue to use the same method.
Me and my rogue mugs should probably just sit down and be quiet here … but that never works.
A dynamic solution sounds like just the ticket — then you would only need to generate a single individual mug image for each year.*
There are websites out there which offer to hammer together jpgs. If any of those has a protocol which enabled you to send instruction via url that might be a possibility.
It is easy enough to set up a webpage that will present singleton mug images arranged in any combination a user requested. Then, I assume everyone’s computer has a built-in facility for grabbing a user-specified area of the screen and saves it as a jpg. So, though it requires some user doing, it puts the appropriate custom icon into each user’s hands. Does that help?
But if it doesn’t include a bonus flaming white mug, Camy is going to be pret-ty disappointed.