Dark Scarab 7 Reference Guide

Dark Scarab 7 Reference Guide

Postby IrascibleOne » August 23rd, 2014, 9:22 pm

This guide is meant to help outline how things work, how you are generally expected to use the site, and as a reference for various features. Reading this is recommended if you want an idea of how I envision the community using the site.

Dark Scarab revolves around the concept of a series. A series is a set of media items. Each media item could be an image, video, text, or some other embedded media. Putting together many media items can create various categories of series.

Series Categories
If you are submitting a series, you will be asked to select the category for your series. These categories are used when browsing. It is important you choose the correct category, otherwise, people will not find your work or it won't be what they are looking for and will simply pass it by.

  • Galleries: Final renders/animations and maybe with some work in progress or alternate shots.
  • Models: Like a gallery, but the focus is on the model itself. Models are usually available to download.
  • Tutorials: Instructional media designed to teach something about Blender.
  • Articles: Primarily text. Could be Blender news or even blogging about something related to Blender.

Currently, you can only upload images directly to Dark Scarab. However, you can post almost any kind of media with an embeddable URL. For instance, if you have a video on YouTube, you can paste the URL for that video into the corresponding field when creating a series. Then your YouTube video will appear in your series on Dark Scarab.

This isn't limited to YouTube either. You can do the same thing with Vimeo, Flickr, Sketchfab, and a huge assortment of other sites as well. If you've uploaded your content to a popular website, you can probably embed it here. You can see a full list of sites this feature supports at embedly.

Good Ideas
In general, as long as your series is categorized correct, I don't care how you set up your series. That said, here are some good ideas to help you understand what sorts of things should be in a single series.

  • Work Process: Include wireframes, works in progress, and other supporting images with your final render to show how you do your work.
  • Comics: Put sequential images/media together in one series in exactly the order you want. No more hunting or manually linking to the next page.
  • Variations: If you have many variations of your render, put the in a single series so people can see them all.
  • Step By Step: This is how I do my tutorials. The tutorial is broken down into steps and each step has a single media item and accompanying text.
  • Video Tutorial: If you make video tutorials, you can do that too! You could put multi-part tutorials in one series so people can easily find them all.
  • 3D viewers: You can embed models you uploaded to Sketchfab so people can take a better look at your work.
  • Mix Media: Share an animation of your model in action, maybe add a wireframe render, then maybe alternate angles. Show off your model!
  • News: Share recent events or things people should know about that revolves around Blender.
  • Blog: Write articles that revolve around Blender. You don't need to be an artist to contribute to the community!

Bad Ideas
The only bad idea is to separate media that should clearly be in a single series. Putting your related work in a single series makes your work easier to find and easier to share. If you have a whole project, it's easier to show your friends everything with a single link. It's also easier on your friends because they don't have to hunt for all your work. It also keeps the site a cleaner and easier to navigate through.

So why might people separate their work?
  • Too many images/media. Until I have the time to optimize the site for large series, it may take a very long time to load pages with tons of media. If you are having issues with slow page loads due to lots of media, consider splitting your series.
  • Some people may separate their work because they just don't know any better. Those people can be gently informed of what they should do instead.
  • Others will just want extra points. If your priority is to earn points, you should probably rethink why you are here. Dark Scarab is about sharing great works, improving your skills, and helping others to improve theirs. The points are a reward for doing so. Would you rather post a bunch of medicore works just to get points or would you rather have spent that time improving your skills?

Leaders and Ranking
Dark Scarab includes a points system. Using this points system, people are given ranks. Top point earners are listed in the leaderboards. Below is a list of what will earn you points and the current ranking system used on the site. Points are meant to reward people for contributing to the site, helping others improve their skills, and generally supporting others in the community.

Note: Keep in mind that these point values can change in the future. I will periodically assess whether or not point values are still fair and adjust as necessary. Whether or not the points are fair largely depends on how people actually use the site.

Point Chart
  • Series => 10 points
  • Fan => 3 points
  • Comment => 1 point
  • Forum Post => 1 point
  • Likes Earned => 1 point
For example, if you have submitted 3 series, you get 30 points. If you have 12 fans, you get 36 points. When you add everything up, you get your total score. Your total score determines your rank.

  • 0 points => Unranked
  • 25 => Rookie
  • 100 => Rookie+
  • 175 => Rookie++
  • 250 => A Class
  • 500 => A+
  • 750 => A++
  • 1000 => AA Class
  • 1500 => AA+
  • 2000 => AA++
  • 2500 => AAA Class
  • 3250 => AAA+
  • 4000 => AAA++
  • 5000 => Pro Class
  • 10000 => All Star
  • 25000 => Hall of Fame
My goal is to realistically represent a members reputation. I don't want someone to be able able to become an All Star during their first week because that would defeat the purpose of having rank. Only the best of the best, should ever make it to the Hall of Fame. That said, I will periodically assess whether or not these need adjusting. It all depends on how quickly people actually progress through the ranks.

There are currently three leaderboards on the leaders page. The first is the overall leaders. The overall leaders are people who have scored the most total points. Creator points are points people have earned for things they have created. This includes series and the number of likes earned for their series. Voice points are points people have earned for posting comments, posting in the forum, and the likes they have earned for their comments and forum posts.

Note: I am still deciding on the usefulness of the 'creator' and 'voice' leaderboards, so if you have any input on the matter, I would greatly appreciate it.

Likes, Fans, Social Media
This is similar to what you find on other sites. Here, you have to power to give a point to people who share works or post content that improves the quality of the site or is just plain awesome. Beyond points, likes are also used to help when sorting by popularity in the browse section.

Becoming a fan also rewards points to a member. In return, you get notifications when fanned (ie. followed) members submit a series to the site. When you earn fans, more people will see when your work has been shared on Dark Scarab.

Social Media
There are two ways social media is included on Dark Scarab. The first is with sharing. You can reward creators by sharing their works on social media sites. This helps others find their work and expands the creator's fan base. You get brownie points from your friends for sharing.

The other way is social media is involved is through links. If you have an account and save a link to it in your account settings, people will be able to follow you elsewhere on the web. This also means you can follow others who have links to their accounts on the web. Currently, Dark Scarab includes support for a link to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, the Blender Network, Flattr, and Patreon.
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