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Shadow Skill Network History

On this page you will find information on the history of the Shadow Skill Network site. The site was first conceived back in early December 2003, and was called Kuruda X. The main aim for the site was to gather all Shadow Skill information and media together in one place, to make it easier for fans to find what they're looking for.

Kuruda X

Kuruda X Version 0.1 - 01/12/2003
These were indeed humble beginnings, and thinking back to this previous version of the site makes me cringe. The buttons were red .jpg rectangles with white writing on them, there were site buttons on the left while affiliate buttons were placed on the right of the pages. There was no resolution support whatsoever, and the page would not even fit in 1024x768 resolutiuons. There was little content except 2 mp3s from the Shadow Skill Series and a bunch of random SS images.

Kuruda X Version 0.1.5 - 10/12/2003 - Screenshot
At this point I had replaced the red rectangle buttons with flash buttons, which unfortunatley did not fit in with the site at all as they were Dreamweaver default buttons. The site had also been incorporated into a project I was working on at the time called the PixelSeven Network (P7N.) This project failed as I did not have the patience or money to see it through at the time, but it did allow for a forum to be created, where I made some great friends.

Kuruda X Version 0.2 - 01/02/2004 - Screenshot
Time had passed and no hope was evident for the site or the current forum. I heard about a cheap, yet high quality hosting package from a friend of mine, and after purchasing this package, I had new drive to try and re-create Kuruda X and offer something I hadn't been able to before - downloads. I also got hold of a phpBB Forum and virtually all of the previous members from the old forum returned to this new, more professional-looking place. The site itself had improved greatly, it now had support for all resolutions and actually looked half-decent. The main thing though was the content, and plenty of it.

Kuruda X Version 0.3 - 08/03/2004 - Screenshot
It had been over a month since Kuruda X came back online, and I just wasn't happy with the way the site looked, I needed it to look more professional. I didn't have a hope until a friend of mine gave me some code to base the site on, and after tweaking the code for a while, I managed to find the layout I had been looking for. The transition was easy since all the content was there, I just needed to repackage it for the new layout. I had some ideas for new pages (thanks to the forum members) and this page itself was one of those ideas. So now I'm happy with the layout and overall look of the site, but I get bored easily so it may change in the future.

Kuruda X Version 0.4 + 0.5 - 15/04/2004 - Screenshot 1, Screenshot 2
Nothing much new here except for a colour change, and a different banner. The whole site was tidied up and made neater.

Kuruda X Version 0.6 - 20/05/2004 - Screenshot
The site was given a total makeover to make it look the most professional it had ever been. Instead of scrolling, and to avoid using iFrames which don't work well on Netscape browsers, an iLayer was used and you had to hover the mouse over an "up" or "down" arrow to move the page. Despite the site design being very clean and neat, it wasn't very efficient to scroll using the arrow-hover system, I thought that this version didn't have a good "feel" to it.

Shadow Skill UK (SS:UK)

SS:UK: Shadow Skill UK Version 0.7 - 14/07/2004 - Screenshot
Kuruda X had become more popular than I had ever expected it to be, but it just wasn't enough for me. I came to the realisation that a site soley based on Shadow Skill would never draw incredible amounts of visitors. So SS:UK was born, the site that would still contain all Shadow Skill related info and downloads, but will include other animes as well, to attract more visitors to the site, and more members to the forums.

The site design has changed since Kuruda X, I felt that the last version of Kuruda X (v6.0) which although looked good, had lost the site's "homely" appeal. SS:UK now has a java navbar at the top of each page, which allows for space saving and easier browsing. The navbar has a transparent effect for Mozilla Firefox users.

The background for the site and forum are the same colour for the first time since version 2.0. A black background is used for the content in the middle of the screen. All resolutions are supported in Internet Explorer 4+ and all resolutions from 1024x768+ are supported in Mozilla Firefox. For the best effect, the site should be viewed in Internet Explorer 6+ using 1280x1024 resolution and above.

SS:UK: Shadow Skill UK Version 0.8 - 15/09/2004 - Screenshot
SS:UK was growing fast since I added 2 new animes to the site, Naruto and Elfen Lied. The site now had a theme of providing info and downloads for the more violent/action shounen animes out there. With an average of 300 unique visitors a day, amassing over 300,000 hits a month, I knew I had done the right thing.

The site colours changed to a more purple and dark blue, which I felt was easy on the eyes, and the forum colour scheme followed suit. This new version of the site also inludes a php image gallery, because i was getting sick of manually updating and creating HTML image pages. The forums had become more popular, with Naruto and Elfen Lied fans joining in the discussions, and we reached 100+ members in early October.

SS:UK Version 0.9 - 01/12/2004 - Screenshot
One year had passed since the idea for this site became a reality, and it had grown bigger than I could have possibly hoped for. At this point, the site was getting half a million hits a month, and almost exceeding its 50 GB monthly bandwidth transfer every month too. The site was averaging 7000 unique visitors a month, and the forum had over 150 members.

With this design, I was going for a "frosty blue" look, fresh and easy on the eyes. All images for the various links faded-in from light blue to full colour. Whilst trying to attain stunning visuals, which I failed at miserably, I also made the age-old mistake of shoving too much javascript in there to try and achieve this. As a result, the site became slow and clunky, and a bit of a nightmare to browse. This design didn't stay up for long, but it did look quite good while it lasted. The iLayer which I used in version 6 made a return, but it became too much work for me in the end, and the design was replaced with something more simple, yet better looking.

SS:UK Version 1.0 - 24/01/2005 - Screenshot
For me, this was the greatest site design I had ever achieved under HTML 4.01, something truly original-looking and easy to navigate. This design still retained elements of the previous design, but the colours were changed to black/grey/red which are almost traditional colours as far as Shadow Skill fansites are concerned.

This design was the end of HTML 4.01 for me, from here I moved onto using XHTML and CSS code for the site, in order to improve loading times and help promote web standards which, I was to find, would become increasingly important over the next few years.

SS:UK Version 1.1 - 01/03/2005 - Screenshot
This was my first serious attempt at XHTML and CSS website design, and I think it turned out pretty well. This site has always been somewhere for me to experiment with different styles and designs though, so this didn't stay online for that long in the grand scheme of things.

After this design, a lot of things had changed with the site, I no longer wished to host information and media for other animes on the site, I wanted it to return to what it should have been all along, just a Shadow Skill fansite. A number of site designs followed this but have since been lost, Naruto and Elfen Lied were thrown-out, and the Shadow Skill Network was born.

Shadow Skill Network (SSN)

SSN Version 1.0 - 09/02/2006 - Screenshot
The version numbering started from 1.0 again because there were so many different designs following SS:UK 1.1 that I had lost count of them all. The content of the site had remain neglected for quite a long time as real life had thrown new challenges my way, and I found less time to work on the site. This was the site's return to being 'just a Shadow Skill site', and it felt good.

Looking back at this design, I feel that it was too sterile, in my quest for professionalism I had attained mundantiy and the site had never looked so boring. It was easy to navigate and easy to read though, but that's never enough.

SSN Version 1.1 - 02/11/2007 - Screenshot
A number of different site designs later, and version 1.1 is released. This was a clean, attractive, and easy to read and navigate design that I was reasonably happy with. After a while though I got bored of this design and wanted a return to the darker styles of the past.

SSN Version 1.2 - 15/04/2008 - Screenshot
Look familiar? This latest design was based upon an old design I had used for a short time in the past on SS:UK. I removed the curved corners and one column from the right-hand side, and ended up with what I think is a great looking site.

In this version of the site there has been a great emphasis on getting more Shadow Skill content onto it. So much had been lost in favour of reducing loading times and stopping image leechers, that the site was nearly bare. All images were placed back into seperate pages after being in .rar archives for so long, new images, new information pages including the Techniques page, and the OVA page was seperated into 3 extra pages containing info on all 5 Shadow Skill OVAs. 2008 is a great year for Shadow Skill information and media.