Aether Industries Logo

Aether Industries

Game Cave Logo

The Game Cave (2015)

This project was completed as part of the 2015 Diploma of Website Development course at TAFE Nowra. Students were required to find a client operating a community group or small business in the local area and build a website to their requirements.

In addition to this a number of TAFE requirements had to be met to successfully complete the website, including:

Creation of the website involved communicating with the client to ascertain their business requirements, as well as convey regular updates on the progress of the website, obtain information and resources, and obtain client sign-off on website elements such as imagery, content and design.

The client had the option of using the final project for their business, which meant that 'real-world' issues (including copyright and privacy) had to be considered.

The Client

This website was created for The Game Cave: a small business in Nowra, NSW that sells new and pre-owned video games, consoles and accessories, as well as other pop-culture merchandise such as graphic novels (comic books), figurines, trading cards, and Japanese animation (anime) and graphic novels (manga).

During the late stages of the project, The Game Cave's owner-managers made the decision to sell the business, with the new owners already having a website of their own in development. The final stage of the work was completed with the course overseers at TAFE Nowra standing in as the client.

WordPress Assessment

This was completed for the Content Management System module of the course. Students were required to install WordPress on their server, install a theme, and create pages, posts, categories and menus. The 'Featured Product' on each page is a custom PHP plugin written as part of the module, which displays a different item each time a page is loaded.

View the WordPress installation

Client Questionnaire

This questionnaire was created for the testing phase near the end of project development. The client was asked to browse through the live site and complete three tasks, as well as answer the questionnaire to provide feedback. The PHP-based form sends an email to a dedicated Aether Industries address with the submitted answers, and features error checking which returns an error to the user if required questions have not been answered.

The same questionnaire was given to a group of beta testers, with the omission of client-specific questions. (This modified questionnaire can be found here, with an example of the submitted form results here.)

View the client questionnaire

Final Project

This is the final submission of The Game Cave's website. The landing page is intended to resemble the starting screen of a video game, including a 'high score' which uses JavaScript to display a randomly generated number each time the page is loaded.

At one point I had been working on an optional JavaScript-based 'dragon fight' game that visitors could play on the landing page before entering the main website. Unfortunately this had to be shelved as it was proving to be technically difficult to achieve, as well as diverting too much time from the main project.

Each page also features a 'loading' screen as a page transition, both as a nod to older PC games and as an attempt to make the website appear more responsive to visitors on slower connections, as well as provide more seamless navigation between pages.

The main website was designed to resemble a natural cave, albeit with a 'lighter, brighter' atmosphere, as the client was attempting to steer away from the stereotypical idea of the 'basement dweller' gamer. The original colour scheme was intended to reflect the colours used in the shop itself (black, white, grey and green), however creation of an engaging website proved to be difficult using this palette. After discussions with the client it was agreed to make use of other colours for the desktop layout, with the mobile and tablet layouts (as well as the images used in the main navigation menu) reflecting the original idea more closely.

At the top of each page is a simple PHP function displaying a randomly-generated quote from a video game or movie, as well as PHP-based breadcrumbs for easier navigation throughout the site. The footer on each page features a JavaScript countdown clock that changes based on the time and day the site is accessed, showing the amount of time until the Game Cave opens or closes.

The product catalogue makes use of a MySQL database to store and retrieve product information, including product title, genre, rating and price. During testing, one page's loading time took over two minutes; as a result, a pagination feature was implemented in each catalogue page to show only ten items per page. Each page also displays a brief history of the console, which is hidden behind a jQuery-based panel that expands or contracts when toggled, as well as a 'back to top' button to reduce scrolling on mobile and tablet layouts.

View the final project