In the world of online forums the B&C occupies a special place, it is, quite simply, the place to come if you, like everyone else here, love Space Marines. From the Space Marine Painter to our vibrant Painting, Converting & Art forum to the literary world of Liber Astartes and the unmatched zeal of the specialist sub-forums, if you're looking for Marine info we've got it. And that's entirely down to the B&C community and for that we can't thank you enough for helping us to our biggest and best year ever.
So, 2011 was a great year for the B&C (you can see a list of our achievements and some of our favourite threads here) and we need you to do two things to help us make 2012 even better!
First, and most important, keep posting, blogging, painting, writing and generally participating in the community. Without you (yes, you!) there is no B&C and it's your willingness to share your experiences in the 40K universe that keeps this place vibrant and alive.
Second though, we need you donate, to help us buy a new server to bring you a raft of new improvements in 2012 and beyond:
- Upgrade the forum software to IPB 3.2 which brings with it, among other things:
- Improved forum software (better security, improved usability, better skinning support, full Facebook, Twitter and other social media functionality)
- Ability to properly recognise members' contributions with B&C specific awards, ribbons etc.
- Upgraded blog software (group blogs, frontpage sharing & more)
- Upgraded gallery software (better searching, easier to use)
- Upgraded Content software (perfect for an improved Librarium!)
- Upgraded Calendar functionality (perfect for tracking events, product launches, competition entry dates etc.)
- Space Marine Painter improvements
- New wargear (here are some words to excite you: "Apothecary bits", "Melta Bomb", "Iron Halo", "Heraldry Symbols")
- Faster loading times
- Necron Painter
- Dark Eldar Painter
- Improve server performance and stability to ensure your B&C experience is smooth and trouble free
- Support future B&C Publications
- B&C Arena of Death 2012
- Librarium Painting Challenges
In 2007 we turned to the community to help fund a new server, and in 2009 we sought your help to upgrade our storage capacity and you responded with hallmark generosity to help us achieve our fundraising targets. We had hoped the new server and the upgrades would get us past 2012 but the growth in demand for our services - more than 350% on 2007 and more than 40% higher than even our revised usage predictions for 2011 after the storage upgrade in 2009 - is already placing stress on the server and this unfortunately prevents us from upgrading our forum software or the painters (including new wargear modules) without further degrading performance and stability.
In addition your support will also help reduce the burden on myself, I have in 2011 (and for the previous 8 years) funded the vast majority of our annual $2,000 (USD) running costs for bandwidth, rackspace and licenses for our community.
The Bolter & Chainsword - A Snapshot of 2011
So, more than a decade after our Founding and as another year comes to a close we'd like to share with you some of your achievements for 2011 and look forward to what 2012 might bring:
Visitors per Day: more than 14,000
Total # Topics: 113,727
Total # Posts: 1,586,944
Total # B&C Blogs: 1,191
Total # B&C Blog Entries: 5,577
Total # of B&C Galleries: 5,320
Total # of B&C Gallery Images: 63,482
I've saved the most staggering figure for last however:
Painter users/images generated: 50,000 per month - or 600,000 per year!
As we said earlier, all this activity comes at a cost though, and that cost is around about $2,000 a year for bandwidth, rackspace and software licenses. We do currently have some generous supporters who collectively fund around 15% of our costs and we also receive the odd one-off donation to help ease the burden a little but by and large we enjoy an ad-free B&C because of my contributions.
Along with the day to day running costs is the need for upgraded hardware:
The Case for a New B&C Server
In 2007 the B&C sought and received help from the community to setup a new server. Our projections predicted we'd move from the ~4,000 hits a day of early 2007 to ~10,000 hits per day by 2012, an increase of 250% over 5 years. These projections were based on my predictions, our growth patterns over previous years and what we thought was a fairly hefty dose of optimism about the community and the overall popularity of 40K in general.
What we didn't anticipate however was the effect new services (most but a glimmer in Argos' bionic eye) - image galleries, blogs, the Librarium and of course, the Space Marine Painter & Wargear system - would have on those projections, nor what Dawn of War and its sequels (and lately Space Marine too) would do to attract new members to the 40K hobby and Space Marines in particular.
The end result is that the today we've already grown 350% to 14,000 visits a day (from 2007) and, despite the community helping us to obtain extra storage space in 2009 to alleviate some issues, you've probably already noticed the effects this has had on the board in terms of outages, slow downs and other such behaviour over the last 6-12 months.
So this leaves us in an awkward position - in order to continue to expand the services we provide you - including upgrading to IPB 3.1 (which means better forums, blogs, an improved librarium and better image galleries) and improve the painters with improved engines (for better images) and new wargear modules - we're going to need a new server in the very near future.
As well as a new server we need to be able to fund extra hosting costs while we set-up and configure the new server and then transfer everything on the old server to the new one. All up, we're looking to raise $3,500 and in an ideal world we're looking to secure on-going monthly donations of $200 to cover hosting costs and begin building a kitty for our next server upgrade.
We understand not everyone is in a position to help financially, but for those who are we hope you'll consider supporting the B&C community and what it provides to you as a member and to the wider 40K hobby as whole too.
If you have any questions please contact one of the Administrators via PM here on the board. We're only too happy to answer questions you may have regarding the need for the server, the improved services we'd like to offer or indeed just to discuss why the B&C is a worthy cause.
So, please consider becoming a B&C Angel (of Death) this new year and donate, be it a one off $5 donation or $20 a month!
Click here to donate ...
For those who wish to contribute more money you can paypal directly to ... firstname.lastname@example.org
For those who do not have paypal but still wish to contribute, please contact me via PM.
For those that do donate, we won't forget your help ... you might well find a small surprise when we get the new board software / server upgrade done