Halloween Theme

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Oct 30, 2007

Filed under: Projects 56 comments

Oh? The new theme? Yeah. I just wanted to see what it would look like. Back when we were talking about black-on-white vs. other-way-’round I threw together this inverse of the TwentySided theme as an experiment. Then I got a bright idea: Hey, I’ll use this for Halloween!

Except, the little dice images looked awful because they were on a white background with shadows. So I re-shot pictures of all the dice, cut them cropped them, colored them, reduced them.

Also, the icons didn’t match. So I came up with these lame stand-ins. They don’t match, color-wise.

DMotR now looks like rubbish, and if I want it to look right I’ll need to re-make all the navigation and logo graphics. I’m quickly realizing that this is one of those “In for a penny, in for twelve metric tonnes” sort of deals. I’m going to stop sinking time into this and just let it be. It’s just a couple of days. I’ll restore the old theme on Nov 1st.

To those who like the new theme and think I should make it “an option”: I’m open to suggestions. Switching to a black theme means replacing the dice roller, the DMotR graphics, the category icons, and swapping the other various dice and logos on the site. You can’t change all that by swapping out CSS files, which is how most sites allow users to theme-switch. The site has a lot of legacy stuff we need to support and a lot of cruft, which makes the introduction of new features more problematic.

Also: Happy Halloween.


From The Archives:

56 thoughts on “Halloween Theme

  1. Avaris says:

    Happy Halloween Shamus and everyone else. The dice look good on this background…

    Also, I wonder how many posts will have appeared in the time it takes to write this?

  2. Sarah says:

    Ah, Shamus you worry too much….I really prefer the black-on-white look for your blog here.

    …Or maybe I’m just a geek for the shiney plastic look as well. *shrug*

    In any case, it’s nice to see a theme change for the season, but somehow the “emo black livejournal” look doesn’t seem to fit with the general tone and snarkiness of your entries.

    Plus, it ruins the shineys, unless you can figure on a better way to manage the top banner there.

  3. Uninverted says:

    I’m just glad I already finished DMotR.

  4. Tango says:

    I prefer the original style. You shouldn’t need out opinions though, the d20 in the corner shows a natural 1 on the Halloween version. (Though really, I think claiming that this design came from a natural 1 is a bit of a stretch, I’ve seen far, far worse.)

  5. Zem says:

    I find the white on black easier on the eyes, especially for long text

    if you want to quick-convert your old pics, you could simply invert them, althought I am not sure how good that would look.
    With imagemagic you could either -negate to invert colors and brightness, or +negate to invert only brightness.

  6. Telas says:

    Ugh. This is definitely one of those instances where “newer is not necessarily better”.

  7. Taelus says:

    Telas, it’s not exactly finished and he mentioned that. Anyway, I think as a Halloween theme it’s great! The random bits that just don’t mingle are wonderful for a holiday that sees a blood drenched mass murder asking for candy alongside a fairy godmother :-)

  8. Schmidt says:

    Yaaaay, a haven for my eyes.

    Now, I know you won’t keep this, but please put a button somewhere so I can toggle this back to what I see here now.

    That’d be awesome.

  9. Schmidt says:

    Man my psychic powers had me fire a comment that said exactly what you did. Behold the power of the dark side I suppose.

    Oh about the graphics for the dice/icons, I don’t mind if they are ugly or are pre-set for white. It’s just for reading the 50+comments, your excessive diatribes, or whenever you hop on the soapbox, this is really the way to go. I’ll live with ugly dice for a simple toggle switch.

    Just don’t leave the pumpkin icons in, or I’d quickly become confused about what day it is.

  10. Rebecca says:

    Was it Maddox who started the rumor that white-on-black is easier to read? Anyway … needs more spiderwebs. Halloween sites need spiderwebs.

  11. Shamus says:

    “your excessive diatribes”

    Just wait ’til the noontime post. You’ll wonder if I have the capacity for self-restraint.

  12. Hermes says:

    I like it. Other than the logo and the dice, I hadn’t given the colour theme much thought, to be honest, but this’s quite attractive. In a gothy kind of way.

  13. Katy says:

    The text is gray rather than white, right? Maybe you should try true white?

  14. Rhykker says:

    “Was it Maddox who started the rumor that white-on-black is easier to read?”

    Maddox said it; did he start it? I don’t know.

    “The text is gray rather than white, right? Maybe you should try true white?”

    True white will cause too much contrast and be hard on the eyes, as Shamus pointed out in a previous entry.

    The black & gray is easy on the eyes, Shamus, but don’t go turning your world upside down just to please us. From what you said, it seems like a great deal of work.

  15. nilus says:

    Seems to dark. Works for Halloween and if your blog was about how Emo you are. But generally your posts are not depressing enough for this kinda theme. I would stick to the white background with black writing.

  16. Schmidt says:

    I never said that that was a bad thing mind you, but son if it worries you so, I can use tormented internal monologues instead.

  17. Renacier says:

    I thought I’d wandered onto the wrong website for a second, there.

    I’d say you should use whichever theme you like best. You’re the one who has to look at it the most, after all.

    That being said, I vote for a Plaid and Paisley color scheme.

  18. Schmidt says:

    Seriously though Shamus, your pithy yet spunky lounge-style editorials are what brings people here. So lets never change that.

  19. Belzi.ET says:

    Uff, soo dark, everything is soooo dark.

    I definitely prefer the black-on-white version.
    But this may be caused due to my dual-monitor-system (your currently black blog on one screen and a white file-explorer on the other).

    It’s also a pain in the ass to redo all the images. IMHO a very difficult work to make them look good on a black background cause you can’t use shadows or thin borders.

    But yeah, just my opinion. And I left the path of the geek 2 or 3 years ago (at least most of the time =))

  20. Ben says:

    Eh, I much preferred black-on-white myself, although the 1 on the d20 is a very nice touch for Halloween.

  21. azrhey says:

    Even if, as you can see from both my blogspot and LJ, I am usually a light grey on dark grey type of person, I much prefer the usual black on white you have going. it puts me on a “This is an adult man talking about stuff I like” as opposed to “this is a 13 year old emo dork thinking the world is unfair”. I am visual that way.
    But hey, I,d still read you if you kept it this way so *shrug*

  22. viktor says:

    I dislike the overall feel of it like this, but that is just because I’ve seen so many red/black schemes it feels overdone. I like having the black background more than I dislike the specific combo, though, so please leave this as an option. Black on white just gets painful, and I end up highlighting the text, which makes it hard to surf one-handed.

  23. Chilango2 says:

    I find it impossible to read without hilighting text, but perhaps that’s just me.

  24. Browncoat says:

    Which uses less electrons? Go with that one.

  25. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    It looks nice.Except for the bright red colour.You shouldve made it a bit darker.

  26. Taelus says:

    Technically they both “use” the same number of electrons since they don’t cease to exist after being hurled around to generate the screen image ;-)

    Anyway, it’s a misconception that electrons are light. The particle nature of light’s aspect is usually referred to as a photon.

    And with that, I happily declare myself a self-centered blow hard with too much time and too little knowledge ;-)

  27. Andrew Regner says:

    Just thought I would put in my web-designer 2 cents…

    From a purely technical point of view, with a little re-work of the current HTML in this and your “normal” theme, you can have the various images change based on a given CSS file. You could make each image a element with no inner content but a style sheet’ed background image and a fixed size, which can change easily in your css file. In theory it would allow you to have the two white on black and black on white themes as an option just by switching the CSS. I could work up a demo of what I am talking about if you would like.

  28. Sam says:

    It looks very trashy now. I am clearly in favour of the very professional black on white stuff.

  29. Visi says:

    Maybe a bit more padding on the red comment boxes?

    I didn’t like it until I’d reached the end of the comments, by which point it’d grown on me. An option to switch between this and the previous one would be nice, though.

  30. Henebry says:

    doing a batch convert of the dice that simply inverts color (like in a color negative) would probably look appropriately spooky, in keeping with the Halloween theme.

    By the by, great new Halloween toon over on homestarrunner.com

  31. Vegedus says:

    While I am a strong supporter of white-on-black, this theme seriously irks me. I think the reason is that part of the web 2.0 dealie is that it has to be white. After all, which are the main colors of the ipod and DS? You can’t really effectively put a layer of gloss over black.

  32. Belzi.ET says:

    @24 Browncoat
    If I don’t misunderstand you, you’re talking about the amount of electricity used to display the site. (sorry, english isn’t my native language)

    But back to discussion, this was tested a few weeks ago (when this dark version of google was announced).
    For LCD-displays the light backgrounds are a little less better in point of electricity, older monitors (the non LCDs) are a little more economical with dark backgrounds.
    But overall the results were very close.

  33. On the one hand, the die you shaded in looks very sharp. Otherwise, much harder to read.

  34. asterismW says:

    The biggest reason to keep black on white? When your boss glances at your screen, there’s a better chance s/he’ll think you’re doing actual work, rather than goofing off. ;)

    That being said, I like the theme for Halloween, and I LOVE the red dice.

  35. krellen says:

    For the icons, Shamus, I think the solution – if you choose to go with customisable layouts – is transparent backgrounds. That might solve the problem of the backgrounds clashing. Of course, that still means you have to redo all the icons, so I won’t blame you if you go back to black-on-white.

    But I like the darker theme. Just need a way to dim the input boxes to make it perfect.

  36. Phlux says:

    I like the white background better. This isn’t bad, but I won’t miss it when it goes away Nov 1.

    It really just doesn’t fit the tone of the site.

    You talk about how your Web2.0ish graphics are already cliche…well websites with black backgrounds went out of fashion in 1999.

    Honestly the only places I visit on even an occassional basis that use THIS much black are videogame and movie promotional sites.

  37. Inane Fedaykin says:

    I prefer this to the white background by a very large margin.

  38. MHC says:

    Dammit Taelus! There are other self-centered blowhards here trying to get themselves noticed.

    Anyways, I don’t mind the new theme, and I like muchly the comments at the top (although I can’t remember if they were there before or not; I suppose they’re more noticeable now). NSFCP indeed!

  39. Remy says:

    I was surprised when I clicked on the usual link to Twenty Sided and saw the black and red. It looks cool; the font, clean layout, and professional content keep it from looking like an “emo black LiveJournal”. You could probably convert the layouts to CSS by replacing every HTML with a of the same width and height, and setting the s’ background images with CSS.

  40. Remy says:

    (Oops, I forgot that HTML tags wouldn’t be filtered…)

    I was surprised when I clicked on the usual link to Twenty Sided and saw the black and red. It looks cool; the font, clean layout, and professional content keep it from looking like an “emo black LiveJournal”. You could probably convert the layouts to CSS by replacing every HTML img with a div of the same width and height, and setting the divs’ background images with CSS.

  41. DarkLadyWolf says:

    This is incredibly hard to read on my system. Perhaps its the fonts, but the white text nearly disappears into the black background.

    Other than not being able to easily read the content, it looks good. :)

  42. DiscountNinja says:

    Hey – I’m plenty happy with the older style =) I prefer it to be honest, I don’t see how anyone things that black as a background colour is a good idea :|

    Still, the effort you’re putting into this is admirable =)

  43. Gothmog says:

    My $.02- I like the blue & white far better. Much cleaner.


  44. Rick says:

    …wow. I had no idea how much better I liked light-on-dark until I opened this site today. Vast improvement, and that’s even with the change being only partially implemented.

    Reading the comments, I know it’d be too much work to keep this for the few of us who like it. And I agree with those who say the “plastic” look doesn’t work with a dark background. (However, my iPod? Black.) Still, I’m going to miss it when it goes away, just like I still miss the old DMotR-era design. Ah, well, c’est la vie.

  45. Jeff says:

    This is much easier on the eyes, but it doesn’t really feel like Twenty Sided.
    Gothmog’s right, the other one is much cleaner.

  46. theonlymegumegu says:

    I have to be honest, the white text on black background is hard to read, and a strain on the eyes.

  47. Ethan says:

    Hideous. Very scary indeed! Wooooo!

  48. xbolt says:

    This theme (sort of) works for Halloween, but for normal use, I much prefer the old one. (Meaning of course, the NEWER old one. :D )

  49. guy says:

    MY EYES! THEY BURN! I hate white on black. doesn’t seem to matter if i’m using a CRT or LCD display, it hurts my eyes. maybe it’s the lighting in here

  50. Ian says:

    Woo, that was a bit of a shock. :)

    Not a bad theme, I have to say. The white input boxes down here in comment-land are a bit of an eyesore and the banner on top looks a bit off (the white glow needs tuned down a bit, methinks) but I likey. Very festive!

  51. ttancm says:

    I like white on black, but am not partial to the dark gray text. Inch the color more towards white and it would be fine I think.

  52. Dank says:

    Black text on white, all the way.

    I used to love white on black, (I was actually partial to green on black for a while, but I think that was just a homage to an old 286 screen I had which carried on to my mudding days :) ), but black on white feels a lot more natural for web browsing these days.

  53. Anarch says:


    As you say, need further clean up if you were to fully switch, but this would be a great toggle option as is, as someone else suggested.

    And it saves power.

  54. Brandon says:

    I would un-bold all the blue text. The blue doesn’t have a high enough contrast against the black to be that thick.

  55. Ian says:

    Brandon: if the blue text is un-bolded it’ll be hard to read because of the thinness of the text.

  56. Coogan says:

    I thought I was going blind, for a moment.

    I vote a return to black lettering on white background.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.