Oddworld Library

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Oddworld Library is an Oddworld fansite created and maintained primarily by Wil Bunce-Edwards and Xavier De Coster, with help by other Oddworld fans. It aims to provide a comprehensive reference and archive of Oddworld products, media, development, lore and fandom.

Between and , it also reported on Oddworld news, including a number of exclusive interviews and media premiers.

Oddworld Library also covers related topics, such as Citizen Siege and Xmobb.

Structure

History

Conception

A screenshot of OddBlog taken in 2004 showing news articles and the design of the site from that time
OddBlog,

Oddworld Library originated as four separate projects: OddBlog, The Oddworld Encyclopedia, The Oddworld Graphics Gallery and The Oddworld Archives. The first two were created by Wil Bunce-Edwards, and the second two by Xavier De Coster.

Wil first began working on an Oddworld fansite in . His first attempt was a webpage on the early webhosting service Xoom, which he called ‘The Kennels’. This early incarnation presented visitors with a guided tour of the eponymous Kennels (essentially a zoo of Oddworld creatures known at the time) led by a conjoined-twin Glukkon named Glasp.[1] By , the project changed to one more encyclopedic in tone called ‘The Scrabacombs’,[2] but by this was again renamed to ‘The Oddworld Encyclopedia’ to reflect Wil's nickname on the Oddworld Forums.[3]

Wil created OddBlog on uJournal on , originally as a personal blog where he would post personal thoughts and updates to the Oddworld Encyclopedia project, leaving actual Oddworld news for an un-yet-unreleased part of the Encyclopedia named the ‘News Station’.[4] However, under the advice of Xavier, he began posting Oddworld development and community news on OddBlog. On , Xavier began posting on OddBlog, originally on a temporary basis while Wil was absent,[5] but on , Wil announced that Xavier was now a permanent reporter.[6] Xavier had previously been a reporter of Oddworld news on Oddworld Maniac, Oddworld News and Oddworld-Web. OddBlog migrated from uJournal to Blogger in .[7]

Wil, Xav, and a third member of the Oddworld Forums, Oddsville, who had previously owned the fansite Oddville, began making plans to unite their fansites into one, calling themselves the ‘Shaman Network’: All three would share OddBlog, Wil would be in charge of The Oddworld Encyclopedia, and Xavier would create an Oddworld image gallery to take over his management of the Picture Request Thread on the Oddworld Forums; Oddsville would take responsibility for the fourth part of the Network, a collection of Oddworld press interviews that at the time was named ‘The Oddworld Archives’. However, Oddsville's involvement in the group diminished and Xavier took over the Archives. Nevertheless, Wil and Xavier persisted in their plan to combine sites, and they eventually settled on the name ‘The Oddworld Library’.

Launch

A screenshot of OddBlog taken in 2005 showing news articles and the design of the site from that time
OddBlog,

Although OddBlog had always been publicly accessible, it was formally launched in with the slogan ‘bringing you true bijoux of Oddworld news’ when it was first announced on the Oddworld Forums and the link was publicly shared.[8]. Xavier created his image gallery, called ‘The Oddworld Graphics Gallery’, and launched it in ,[9] which was followed in by The Oddworld Archives.[10] Despite officially being part of The Oddworld Library, both of Xavier's sites were originally hosted on Alcar's fansite, Oddworld Universe, but after that went down in ,[11] TOGG and the Archives moved to the Library's server within the month.[12][13]

The Oddworld Library was officially launched on with the opening of The Oddworld Encyclopedia.[14] The first articles on the Encyclopedia were actually a number of joke articles written for April Fool's Day. These were replaced the following day with 18 genuine articles, collectively branded as ‘Wave One’, with a ‘Wave Two’ of 15 additional articles being uploaded on .

First Two Years

A screenshot of OddBlog taken in 2007 showing news articles and the design of the site from that time
OddBlog,

After a brief period of downtime,[15] a number of changes to The Oddworld Library were published on , branded as the site's first relaunch.

The Oddworld Archives were taken down and the name reused as an umbrella for TOGG and the Library's newest section, an archive of Oddworld videos called ‘The Oddworld Cinema’. At the same time, OddBlog begins its ‘OddBlog Specials’, where exclusive stories and interviews could be highlighted; the Bulletin Board was added to the front page, where site updates would be posted; and OddBlog and the Bulletin Board were given syndication feeds.[16][17] The front pages, known as the ‘Atrium’, were given a new appearance at this time.

The Oddworld Forums became a sponsor of the Oddworld Library in by adding a link to the fansite at the top of every page, alongside links to the fansites of its owners, Abe Babe's Oddworld-Web and Alcar's Oddworld Universe.[18]

Second Anniversary

The Oddworld Library celebrated its second anniversary since its official launch on . To mark the occasion, its archive of press interviews returned in a new section of The Oddworld Archives, called ‘The Oddworld Scriptures’, developed by Wil. In addition, although only 1 new article had been published on The Oddworld Encyclopedia since its first month, TOE was updated with 8 new articles, 3 navigational pages and 1 updated article. This updated article on Fleeches was the first to use a reference list of cited sources, and came with a button to hide the inline citations if visitors found them annoying. Wil referred to these updates as ‘the start of a period of increased attention’ on the Encyclopedia.[19][20]

Third Year

In December 2007, the design of the Atrium was updated.[21] In , two social network accounts were opened for The Oddworld Library: an Oddworld Cinema YouTube channel[22][23] and an Oddworld Library Twitter account.[24]

Later

A screenshot of OddBlog showing news articles and the design of the site from 2014
OddBlog,

In , OddBlog switched from its old platform to WordPress. The last post on it was published on ,[25] one week after the Library's official eighth birthday.

In 2016, the Library's front page changed from its traditional green design to a new dark purple one.[26] Early the next year, the same redesign was applied to the Oddworld Encyclopedia.[27]

Although MediaWiki had been installed on the Oddworld Library server at the start of 2008,[28] and despite both a number of articles being ported from the original Encyclopedia as well as a number of original articles being written between and , a large-scale effort to replace parts of the Library with MediaWiki content wasn't started until . In that year, Xavier moved all remaining Encyclopedia articles to the wiki.[29] From to , Xavier moved all interviews and diaries from The Oddworld Scriptures to the wiki,[30] as well as adding newer press articles for posterity; over the course of a few days from , he also added texts from the INsOMNIOUS version of Oddworld.com. By , the front page of the Library redirected to the wiki.[31]

References

  1. Bunce-Edwards, Wil [billy_squeek] (). ‘My Webpage’. Exoddus Club. Yahoo! Groups.
  2. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). ‘Coming Soon - The Scrabacombs’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  3. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). Post 10 in ‘There's more than one Shrink!?’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  4. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). ‘OddBlog created’. OddBlog. Oddworld Library.
  5. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). ‘Xav joins OddBlog’. OddBlog. Oddworld Library.
  6. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). ‘Avatars added’. OddBlog. Oddworld Library.
  7. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). ‘OddBlog 2·0’. OddBlog. Oddworld Library.
  8. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). ‘OddBlog’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  9. De Coster, Xavier (). ‘TOGG - Grand opening!’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  10. atusiya@ (). ‘Xavier 's The Oddworld Archives !!’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  11. Oddworld Forums members (). ‘What happened????’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  12. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). ‘The Oddworld Graphics Galliry Returns!’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  13. De Coster, Xavier (). ‘The Oddworld Archives are back’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  14. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). ‘The Oddworld Library - grand opening’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  15. Oddworld Library (archived ). Archived by the Wayback Machine. Internet Archive.
  16. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). Bulletin Board. Atrium. Oddworld Library. Archived by the Wayback Machine on . Internet Archive.
  17. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). ‘The Oddworld Library Relaunched’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  18. Alcar (). ‘TOL Sponsorship & Staff Changes’. Forums Suggestions & Help. Oddworld Forums.
  19. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). ‘The Oddworld Scriptures launches’. Bulletin Board. Atrium. The Oddworld Library. Archived by The Wayback Machine on . Internet Archive.
  20. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). ‘The TOL Thread’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  21. Oddworld Library (archived ). Archived by The Wayback Machine. Internet Archive.
  22. De Coster, Xavier (). Post 16 in ‘The TOL Thread’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  23. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). ‘The Oddworld Cinema on YouTube’. OddBlog. Oddworld Library.
  24. Bunce-Edwards, Wil (). Post 22 in ‘The TOL Thread’. Oddworld Discussion. Oddworld Forums.
  25. Manco (). ‘Worlds Factory interviews Stewart Gilray; Oddworld unlikely to be on Kickstarter’. OddBlog. Oddworld Library.
  26. Oddworld Library (archived ). Archived by the Wayback Machine. Internet Archive.
  27. Oddworld Library (archived ). ‘Contents’. The Oddworld Encyclopædia. Archived by the Wayback Machine. Internet Archive.
  28. MediaWiki default (). Revision 1 of ‘Main Page’. Oddworld Library.
  29. De Coster, Xavier (). Revision 685 of ‘Template:In the news’. Oddworld Library.
  30. De Coster, Xavier (). Revision 717 of ‘Template:In the news’. Oddworld Library.
  31. Oddworld Library (archived ). Archived by The Wayback Machine. Internet Archive.