If you are a regular visitor of either the Oddworld Wiki or Fandom wikis in general, you may have noticed a big change in the way text is presented on the Oddworld Wiki since today. The main font for articles, as well as many font sizes and other tiny layout settings have been tweaked to give the readers of our articles a much better experience. For those of you browsing Fandom on mobile; this will not affect you.

But why?

So why this change? Years ago, when Fandom was still named Wikia, the designers at Wikia decided in their infinite wisdom that the default typography of MediaWiki (the underlying framework of Wikipedia and Fandom wikis big and small) was not good enough. Many arguments were had over this decision as it radically changed the way a wiki looked to its audience, but Wikia considered the greater good more important. As monitor resolutions grew bigger and wider, so did the length of sentences. Long lines of words make texts difficult to read, and so Wikia decided to increase the font size to decrease the amount of words per line of text.

Once the storm of raging Wikia editors died down the change had the desired effect. I do actually prefer the shorter sentences on Fandom than the long and tiny sentences on Wikipedia. But this change had a rather ugly knock on effect. The default fonts (Arial or Helvetica) look absolutely terrible above a certain font size. Most noticably it made all text look bold, all the time, everywhere. Fandom apparently does not consider this an issue, but luckily individual wikis are able to make changes to the fonts and styling if they so wish.

Changes in detail

And so I have spent the last few weeks tweaking and finetuning a new typography design for the Oddworld wiki in particular. The aim is/was to improve the readablity of articles, and to make the wiki look better overall. In very broad strokes, the main changes are thus:

  • The main article font has been changed from Helvetica/Arial to Source Sans Pro. The main advantage of this is thinner looking text and a clearer distinction between bold and non-bold text. Fonts for notices and navboxes have not been changed in order to make them visually distinct.
  • The font and styling for the Table of Contents on articles has been made smaller and more compact so that it creates less empty space in the article.
  • Headers have been resized to sizes that make sense.

I hope these changes have the desired effect in increasing readability. There may be the odd glitch or two for texts in very specific situations, mostly in infoboxes or nested lists. If you see anything that looks weird, too small or too big, please let me know and I'll be sure to fix it.

Wiki rules and policies

Together with the typography issues, writing up the wiki's rules and policies has been a long standing project that has finally been done. You can find the various policies in the main navigation bar under 'Community'. These policies are intended to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to categorization, article layouts, administrations, editing guidelines, etc. If you have a moment I would like to ask all editors to read over them and make sure you understand them. Of course, if anything is unclear you're always free to ask.

The future

With these two issues crossed off my to-do list, what is next? It's infoboxes! The infoboxes on the wiki have been doing a good job, but their color theme has never fit in well with the rest of the wiki. I'd like to make them fit in better, so that will be my next project. At the same time the content of the infoboxes will need an update, as Oddworld's rebooted story has caused a number of lore conflicts (RuptureFarms is a good example). Luckily Fandom has provided a neat tool for this problem which will allow us to create a tabbed infobox, so that relevant information for both versions of the lore may be presented on the same page without it getting confusing. This will be my primary project for the foreseeable future.

Beyond that, Oddworld: Soulstorm has thrown a serious wrench in the works when it comes to documentation. With the addition of the crafting system in the new game an entirely new category of pages and templates will have to be created to properly document all the crafting items and recipes. The goal is to have the underlying infrastructure ready by the time the game is released next year (hopefully). We can then start filling in pages afte the game's release since names and recipes are no doubt subject to change during development.

That does it for this update. Happy editing!


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