I've begun working proper on a whole new site design now. Unfortunately it seems I'll have to do most of it from scratch, as there simply isn't anything out there that will do what I really need, that is, simple, complete integration with vBulletin, our file db, and our future design.
I have decided that no amount of sitting around and researching is going to make this work, so I am going to dive in. This is the plan:
Part 1 - The Content
Return Massassi to its editing roots in a unique and useful way. This idea is courtesy of Jon`C, so credits to him for this much. Imagine http://moddb.com with a focus on development instead of publicity. Moddb's weakness is that they cater as only a front end, a file and video repository for various modifications. They also support some tutorials, but they are sparse and not tightly integrated with the community as a whole.
The new Massassi will take these elements of Moddb's front end, and supplement them with a variety of services for developers to use in creating various mods. This includes hosting services for the developers for any aspects of their modifications, including assets, scripts, documentation, etc. These services will be available for individual developers as well as teams, where access to the resources can be managed collectively, safely, and securely.
In addition, the term "mods" will be opened to more general content, allowing developers who enjoy more specific creative endeavours (such as models, textures, music, etc) to store and display their works in an organized and sensible manner. The best part of using this system, is that if other projects wish to make use of your models, textures, etc, they can simply add it to their project from the interface, it will be placed into their assets, and you will be included as a contributing artist for the project's credits. It's great for creating a sense of community, and to get a feel for contributing without committing to a project.
Having your content hosted on the site can help ensure that your content is not stolen by others without your permission (assets uploaded to projects will be compared to existing content site-wide). You can allow content to be reused freely (Creative Commons or Public Domain-style), reused only with permission (they will request the use, you will OK it), or upload it for display purposes only. You also will receive credit for the parts of the project you contribute to, such as models, levels, etc. If you work with others on, say, a level, everyone who contributes will receive credit (This can be verified by the Project Leader and the original creator of the file). Almost all of this will be done automatically, based on a few preferential settings in your profile.
Content that is in progress will be given a development timeline, allowing visitors to see progress made on the content. New screenshots,
Also, tutorials will be another form of content, which can also be credited. If a reader finds a tutorial helpful in his project, he can mark it as so, and future readers can see that a tutorial was helpful in X Project's development. This will let others see the true effectiveness of a tutorial, as opposed to a simple "rating" mark. After all, what says more about a good tutorial, a 4 star rating, or "Wow, the devs at the Black Mesa mod found this tutorial helpful!".
Addendum: I'd also like to give a tip of the hat to the guys at the JK Editing Hub, from which I have also received some good ideas.
Part 2 - The Community
The community will be at the heart of the site. Every texture pack/model/level will be given it's own thread automatically, as a type of "commenting" system. Project teams can apply for an entire subforum (Really, 2. One public, one private, for the team).
An artist's profile will be expanded, using vBulletin's social features in combination with the content created by the user. Essentially this is the Web 2.0 version of the Editor's Corner. The profile will contain a list of works done by the artist, as well as projects he/she is in. Users who often contribute content to the site, or regularly comment on other's content, will be given added benefits (yet to be determined).
The main forums will continue on intact, I do not wish to upset the current community. One important aspect of this change is that there will be one account for the entire site, including the forums. So little will change here for you all. The forums will just slowly grow larger as more is added.
Part 3 - The Cruft
Massassi has a great library of old levels, modifications, and other resources. While it's unfortunate that the games these things were made for have died off, I do not wish to neglect our "heritage". The old content will of course remain fully available as it always has. Unfortunately, adding it to the new site will be simply impossible, due to simple inconsistencies that would develop (the many hundreds of developers who don't even have accounts here, for one). There will instead be a separate, small section of the site dedicated to the "Historical Massassi". Inside will be an improved system for viewing and finding the old materials, as well as a needed face lift in design.
I will also try to create a conversion system, with which users can apply to have their content moved from the old database to the new one, with all the new functionality. This process will not be automatic, as the moderators will need to be sure that the person applying is indeed the original author. I believe this will be the best way to merge the old with the new, without breaking either.
I won't lie, this will be a long, hard project, especially for one guy. I will enlist the help of others as I go (especially in the art department), but I will do my best to code it. I may fail, I may run out of motivation, it's all possible. But I figure I have nothing to lose except some of my time here, so I will give it my best shot.
As for the plan, I consider it mostly set in stone. I will flesh other things out as I go, and make changes as necessary as the project unfolds. Feel free to offer your opinions, but I don't expect to change it much. This is how I feel is the best method to reinvigorate Massassi, so I'm going to go with my gut, stop beating around the bush, and get cracking.
Oh, and please be serious in this thread. I'm going to delete any stupid posts on sight without warning.