[img align=left]http://www.pokecharms.com/random/pokecharms2010.png[/img]Hello all, I know this is a bit early, but with the hecticness of the next couple of days, I may as well put this up now in advance. So, Happy New Year, to all our Pokecharms members and visitors.
This past year has been a bit of a tough one - the Trainer Card Maker continued to be a major source of technical issues, and we had to seek pastures new once again in order to handle the demand of it. Unfortunately, in doing so, we also kind of over-reached our budget and the site's hit financial difficulties towards the latter end of the year. In all, it's had a pretty huge knock-on effect on our visitors, which has had a domino effect on the money made by ads.
However, one thing our month of downtime proved was that we have a pretty large network of dedicated fans and members that followed us right back once word spread around of our return. Right now, we're pretty much back to where we were hitswise before the downtime - and that's between 4,000 and 6,000 unique visitors every single day.
Now, I know we could be a lot better - in the past year, we've really not had a lot available for visitors to experience on the site other than the forums and the TCM because of delays in working on the new Pokedex and Staff Showcase sections. That's unquestionably all on me, and I do have to apologise for it - but we're getting there, and with any luck, we'll have that 'relaunch' I discussed a few weeks ago coming up very soon in the New Year (once I've gotten all my Uni work out of the way >>).
This being not only a new year, but also a new decade, it's also pretty fitting to look back all the way to Pokecharms' beginnings in 2001 - when the concept of ever getting as many as 4,000 people looking at the site full stop was pie in the sky. Quite a lot has changed for the website since then, and one of those crucial things has been our great community. Over the past 6-7 years since Pokecharms returned in 2003, I've made so many friends because of this website, and I know plenty of our other members have made many more themselves. I even found something more with Prof Cinders/Rachel, and couldn't be more grateful to the opportunity this site has presented because of it.
So, what does the next year bring for Pokecharms? Well, I can only comment so much on that now, afterall, I'm no longer officially in charge. Yes, Katie/Linkachu, I'm sure, will have plenty of ideas for working with the community in the next year - however, on my side of things, I can confirm that there will be a large TCM update bundled in with a new design for the site, the long awaited new Pokedex and the return of the Staff Showcase section - all better than ever before. Ideally, this will all launch within a month or so - and much of it is all ready to go - and when it does, I guarantee you'll all be very happy with the results. All of this has taken a lot longer than anticipated to get ready - but that's because I've been very specific in taking my time to make sure it's all perfect. I've even almost completed the Pokedex twice, only to end up going through it again, revising my own work to make it even better, so that when it's finally out there, it's the best it could be.
But that's just on Pokecharms.
When I stepped down from the day-to-day administration of Pokecharms, I was doing so to dedicate my time to new projects (as well as focusing on Uni Work and making sure the relaunch stuff was sorted), and one of those new projects is a whole new website.
I started teasing this in the summer, when the original plan had been to have it ready long before now, but making sure the Pokedex etc was ready was the priority (as well as Uni stuff). However, with some basic notion of when I will have the site ready for launch (though nothing definite), I feel today is as good a day as any to give you a guys a small insight of what to expect next year.
[img align=right]http://www.pokecharms.com/random/logotsname.png[/img]So, without further ado, let me officially announce Trainer-Space.com, a new sister website for Pokecharms coming, ideally, no later than next summer.
I can't give too much away just yet, but Trainer-Space is the culmination of almost a decade of projects and planning for Pokecharms that got to the point where it just needed its own website to really work. If you were around to remember the discussions of 'Project X', well, that project officially finishes when Trainer Space launches (a good 5-6 years on). Some aspects were the Pokedex and new layout design (of which we've had two Pokedexes [kind of], and umpteen different layouts since) - but the remaining ones find themselves incarnated in Trainer-Space, plus a whole lot more.
Trainer-Space serves two main functions. The first is as a social networking application for Pokemon fans. You will find all the features of that you would expect too: status updates; a robust friend list and contact system; a photo/image gallery; polls, quizzes, and so on. We don't intend for you to replace whatever social networking website you're currently using with Trainer-Space - but we do hope that it will make connecting to other Pokemon fans, and organising trades, battles, etc that much easier.
The second main aspect of Trainer-Space is a gaming aspect. This is where I can't give too much information away just yet, but although we're focusing on an image/text based browser point and click set up, in designing this we have taken the approach of developing an actual videogame - specifically an MMO game. We hope that when you get the chance to play around with it, that you find it as engaging and involving as any full 3D game world MMO you'd normally play.
We'll have more information on Trainer-Space closer to its release - and throughout the next year, we will be giving away beta invites for users to get a chance to help us test the site prior to launch and get an exclusive first look at what's available.
So, that's just a glimpse at what's coming up for Pokecharms - and for its extended network - and I hope it has you as excited as it has me. I'll see you all in the New Year, and hope to have all of this set in motion before long.
Happy New Year everyone, and here's to hoping the next decade will be as good to us and our community as this one has.