Layout #7 was a response to two things. The first being me getting better at design. And the second as a way of moving forward; away from the old MM Team Scene days. It really annoyed me that everyone took my idea to use game graphics for their layout, so I went In a direction I felt sure nobody could copy. With a focus on the "Mechanical" part of our name moving to a steampunk style seemed like a natural choice. My sister had bought a bunch of watch parts which I scanned in and used for the new layout. With the Fiction section including Annihilation having the Rogues Galley on the side seemed out of place, so it was moved tot he main epilogues section. To keep a connection that we're a fun site with fan art and fiction primarily, I put in a random image at the top.
I wanted this layout to be clean. Unlike previous layouts, where updates would gather and create a long list of past updates on the main page, this layout had them hidden away in, what would become, our blog. At first I used just another php p[age to house those old updates. Later on I decided a blog would be a good idea and, since everyone I knew used Blogger, I went with that.
Blogger was a pain to use for this,. I thought I'd connect to their database,, but they made separate HTML pages on the site for EVERY different page and archive. Making the layout work was a chore and Blogger eventually stopped supporting remote updates, so I had to move to an option I was only a little more familiar with - Wordpress.
Unlike Blogger, Wordpress was VERY easy to work with, although making the layout was a challenge and I got complaints from the other Maniacs about it. Still, it was the right move. Wordpress is a LOT more versatile than Blogger ever was.
While on Blogger I took the time to archive EVERY old update I could find from past iterations of the Mechs. It was tedious work, but it's nice to be able to look back on our progress from time to time.
The very last trick this layout uses is a Random Video at the bottom of the page. This uses PHP and gets a random video from an XML files I put on the server. I think it's rather neat and I learned a lot about programming PHP from making it.
In addition to everything else, this layout was the first anyone ever PAID to advertise on. It was kinda cool to get offered money to give people ad space instead of just relying on Google ads, which never gave much of anything.