Meet the New Karl.gg

4 months ago

Hey everyone!

As you can see, we have been working behind the scenes for a little bit now to redesign karl.gg as you know it. While this first pass is mostly a visual change, it is the first step of many to get to what we might term the "2.0" release.

karl.gg's Lineage

As many of you may know, karl.gg was born from a combination of 2 very related tools a little over a year ago. One was our initial prototype of a build-sharing site called drg-builds, and the other was the established Deep Rock Galactic build tool known just as "karl". The initial reddit post that was made introducing drg-builds very quickly turned into an amazing journey to build a great set of community tools for this game we all love. The primary engineer behind the original karl tool and I joined forces with the help of a few other interested folks to kick-off building a new version of drg-builds.com that included the great build functionality from the existing Karl tool. This effort took a couple of months and finally launched in May of 2020. Thus the initial version of karl.gg was born.

This 1.0 release included all of the features and functionality that we originally set out to achieve, so we were pretty excited to share it with all of you. However, as you might have guessed, merging one tool into another isn't done without collecting a little technical debt, and we were no exception. The original Karl tool was put inside of the new codebase and essentially adapted to understand state beyond just the in-browser capabilities. This allowed the complex build tool to function in the way that many loyal users have come to expect, which was great but also caused some downstream headaches as we continued developing. Pretty quickly we realized that there was some re-writing that would need to happen to tackle a lot of the really interesting capabilities that we want to deliver to our community.

The Redesign

This redesign was the first step of our 2.0 journey. It will probably be a little jarring to some, as it is quite different from the old look and feel, but we do truly hope that you love it!

Our primary goals when setting out on this redesign were:

  • A much more clean, clutter-free, and readable interface
  • A more neutral color scheme
  • A consistent look and feel throughout the application
  • Creation of reusable page components for extending our site in the future

So with that, you will see we have shed a lot of the dark browns and yellows in favor of a more traditional dark-mode color scheme of grays with a few accent yellow accents. While it definitely won't have as many similarities to the game's look and feel - it should be a little bit easier to read with proper contrasts between colors. We also removed the much harder-to-read font from the original design in favor of a more traditional web font which should improve readability across the site.

You should also notice a huge improvement to the mobile responsiveness for most pages (we know that the build page still has some work to do, that is on the to-do list). In addition to responsiveness, we have optimized much of our content delivery to slim down responses for users with much slower internet connections.

Overall, we think we have delivered on all of the goals we set out to, and maybe even a little more. If you super agree and want to give some thumbs up or if you completely disagree, we would love to hear your feedback in our Discord server or if you are particularly tech-savvy, directly on our Github Repo.

Next Up

We are definitely going to take a couple of days off after this major launch, but we have a lot more rewriting to do that we will be sure to share with you as we launch.

The next major focus area is going to be on the build section of our site. This is the bread and butter of our site - the workhorse if you will, and right now it isn't quite up to the standard that we want. Much of the initial code that was adapted early on has stayed the same and hasn't really been integrated into our site fully. By taking the time to do a second pass on this section, we believe introducing many of the exciting features on our roadmap will be much easier. I know that wasn't super specific, but I do promise that as we prioritize and start work on these things that you will be the first to know.

That's all for now, good luck out there.

Rock and Stone!