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"When I close my eyes, the sky in my dreams is a deep, dark blue."
Avril Mead

Greetings, fellow aces! It's been one hell of a summer. From E3 to Gamescom to Tokyo Game Show, the days of our news droughts are finally over and we're counting down the days to the release of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown! What a fitting celebration for Acepedia's 12th anniversary this past August :D

I've said in the past that Acepedia would have to get ready for a flood of information when the game releases, and a large part of those preparations is now complete. I want to run through a few things that have changed on the wiki in the past few days.

Colors and Logos

Myself, User:Qbicle, and User:MyNamesFurii have spent the past couple of hours figuring out a few updates to our colors and the images we use for our logos.

First, the artists out there will quickly notice a change in the shade of blue we use on the wiki. No, this isn't my April Fools' pink-everywhere gag, this is a genuine change. I wanted to make use of the "Dark Blue" theme from the latest Gamescom 2018 trailer, as well as the game's Steam client icon. The icon is going to be an important factor here: notice the gradient from top-left to bottom-right? The color in the top-left is what we used as a base for the new wiki header color.

Here is what the wiki looked like a couple of days ago.

Here's what it looks like now.

We also increased the contrast of the wiki's new X-02 wordmark that we brought in a few months ago thanks to Cae "Lemniscus 1" Lumis as well as all of you voting! The higher contrast helps the logo stand out against the dark blue. The higher-contrast X-02 is also now used as our social media icon on Discord, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube/Google+, though it makes use of the same gradient as AC7's Steam icon instead of just the solid background.

Finally, you can also see that we changed the top-right header image. Instead of using the image of just the Arsenal Bird and its UAVs, we opted to use the image of the Arsenal Bird chasing an F-22. It was a very close call between that one and some edits to this one with the F/A-18F and the Arsenal Bird. If you want to see what that would have looked like, click here for a glimpse. But now that we're sticking with the F-22 image, I've also updated the social media banners to use that image as well.

Main Page Re-Re-Redesign

In November 2013, I made the first major overhaul to Acepedia's Main Page in a long time. Since then, the Main Page has gone through a few more revisions as I tried to discern the best-possible design to follow that would combine accessibility with functionality.

A couple of months ago, I spent some time talking with a user researcher at FANDOM and we spent some time discussing our Main Page design. Since then, I've discovered a really awesome design from a user named Technobliterator, who applied it to the Ratchet & Clank and Marvel's Spider-Man wikis. Using his design philosophy with a few edits of my own, we now have a brand-new Main Page design! Click here to see it in action!

We've come a long way from this atrocity, haven't we?

On the topic of the Main Page, that brings me to...

Game Portals

Back in December 2015, we decided as a community to enable game-specific portals for users to quickly find relevant information for the game they're interested in. The problem is, except for Ace Combat Infinity, they kind of remained on the back-burner.

No longer. With the Main Page design in place, I've applied the same design principles to the game portals. I've also made them link to main categories related to the game in question, including overall characters, the warring factions, and gameplay mechanics. User:MyNamesFurii is also helping out with the other game portals that don't need immediate attention. For a preview of how this looks, check out Portal:Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown or Portal:Ace Combat Infinity!

Aircraft List Updates

Check out Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown/Aircraft! There's not much else to say here, really; it's a brand-new layout for presenting the most-relevant, most-important data on one game's roster. No more basic lists! Huge thanks to Kuro0222 from the Japanese AC7 wiki for the design inspirations!

We're going to work on implementing this same sort of design across the other games as well. I can already see a couple of issues, but... we'll figure it out :P

Message Box Updates

You've all seen the cleanup, stub, image needed, etc. message box templates at the top of articles. Over the years we've had lots of different styles for those boxes, so I opted instead a couple weeks ago to implement the Dev Wiki's global Lua message box template. If that was a lot of mumbo-jumbo to you, all you need to understand is that the message boxes will function the same as other wikis that use the code.

Some minor updates to the message boxes include fitting the entire width of the page, allowing you to minimize them, and making it easy for us to consolidate the proper color-coding of importance.

What's next?

There's a few things that are on the agenda during the rest of the Ace Combat 7 pre-release cycle:

  • I'm halfway through completely overhauling the Manual of Style. This is going to be very important for consolidating formatting styles across the entire wiki. This includes quotation marks around mission names, which you guys voted on!
  • You guys also voted to keep warning users about AC7-related spoilers across the entire wiki. This will require creating a special Spoiler policy to handle these cases, which I will get to before the game releases. All non-AC7 information will remain unmarked.
  • There's a couple more updates I want to make to our templates a la the message box updates above. For example, I want to use the Dev Wiki's context-link global Lua module for templates like Template:Main, backend things like that.
  • MyNamesFurii is continuing to work on Ace Combat 6-related content since the wiki was absolutely terrible with that content before he stepped in. I can't thank him enough whenever I bring this up.
  • Qbicle is helping out with connections between our community and other language communities, particularly the Chinese-speaking community. We'll make announcements on this when we're ready to do so!
  • And of course, we've gotta keep up with the news! All new images must be uploaded, all new pages must be created and properly fleshed out, etc.!

Let's all make sure to do our best in these final months up to the release! And of course, we'll make sure to enjoy the game as soon as it releases -- I'll personally be taking a short break from the wiki to play and enjoy the game properly. :P