Gurkoz Productions is a concept based on the creativity of a one man army known as “gurkoz” a.k.a Jörgen Alexandersson. The website gurkoz.com is the culmination of a several years struggle in the quest for creative perfection.
This is my personal website and I have now run it since inception in 1996. The actual domain has for years been the place where I gather my materials and as an outlet for my trapped creativity. The plan for the future is to continue in the same track and share with you what I learn and produce.
As this is my personal website I would like it to reflect myself in the best way. It involves several design changes before you are completely satisfied. Just as you increases your knowledge and changing as a person, your homepage should also vary and grow. This of course means it will never really be “finished” and is constantly evolving.
A lot has actually happened on the domain in recent years, continue reading for a retrospective look at the previous sites. Much of this early material is now considered of questionable quality, but they where all lessons needed to be learnt. For myself, it is a confirmation that I have evolved. For you as a visitor, it may be a fun experience or perhaps the inspiration for something of your own.
Here is a full site history complete with authors notes and the ability to re-visit archived websites, starting from the very first version going forward.
Version 1 – (1997-1998)
This was the first version of the website related to “GurkoZ Productions”. At the same time, it was also the first website I created so this is where everything began.
Looking back on this you really can question both the design and content. Choice of colors and the busy background shows obvious shortcomings, but this belongs to a learning process that we all must undergo. The menu was the result of tentative steps in various 3D programs of varying quality.
Also began to work with various sections for both games and graphics. Interest in these however faded, when version 2 was planned.
Version 2 (1998-2000)
This was a bit more structured and coherent than the previous version. The blue-white theme was created and lasted for quite some time after this. The contents had been expanded and now included both information about gurkoz and the profile itself. The graphical focus was on the menu that was the result of a complex Photoshop project.
Experimented with some different names and thought at the time that “Creative Minds” was appealing. The whole thing would later prove to be less appropriate, because the name was already associated with thousands of other businesses. A logo for “GurkoZ Productions” had not yet been determined, but early tests with a hand holding a brain was in the works.
Also began working on a mascot that would bring something extra to the table. Ended up with a frog-like creature who would be called “Gnurk”. A gallery was also available, sightly meticulous and difficult to navigate.
Version 3 (2000-2003)
This was a huge project in comparison with the previous two. Almost a whole year was spent in the conception and planning, where all my free time was spent. Wrote lots of text and materials describing me as a person and the idea behind the company and the profile. Colors from version 2 was passed on and at the same time a logo for “GurkoZ Productions” was created.
Also introduced here where a complete archive of images and materials. At that time there was no good way to make it dynamic so I had to content myself with static html pages. To finalize everything with over 300 pictures were still a strenuous process requiring time and patience. I used a template to the maximum extent and it all turned out pretty good in the end.
The menu was also given an upgrade which required some extra work. A massive amounts of guides and calculations were the basis for the new approach. A little extra effort in the program 3D Studio Max also gave it a rotating logo to add it something beyond the ordinary.
Much time was spent on developing a unique look for each section. At the time not much material was available, so I based most parts on photographs and portraits of myself. This in turn would upset more people than I ever could have imagined.
I will not speculate on why people are morons but i frequently had lengthy discussions with a number of disturbed individuals. Basically, it was my personal website and I saw no major problems with this. Perhaps it looks a bit narcissistic when I look back on it but it was still a fun project that I learned a lot from.
After this i soon started getting involved in ASP and that opened a lot of possibilities for version 4.
Version 4 (2003-2005)
In this version, everything branched out into no less than four parts. This would later get the name “GPN – GurkoZ Productions Network.” Everything was built in a custom content management system designed exclusively for this purpose. With the help of dynamic tools that also simplified the process of updating text and image considerably. Applications such as a creative archive and guestbook are now built from scratch with all the functions required.
I was at the time extremely tired at all the stiff and white sites that were considered the most correct and modern. All the talk about “less is more” and how bright and easy everything should be. In order to get some breathing space and an outlet for my locked up creativity, I tried to create something a bit more graphically demanding. I turned to the gaming world, trying to find something a bit more futuristic with screens and small details. It was based on an image of a hard drive and on top of this the different sections where created. I think i really achieved something spectacular and perhaps someone will realize what an incredible amount of time that was spent on this.
The whole thing with multiple sites would ultimately still prove to be too much work to maintain. My basic idea was to vary my work and create new sites whenever I stumble upon something interesting. However to update all of this and keep it alive, was a bigger task than I had anticipated.
On the 9 August 2005, the website was discontinued to instead focus on version 5.
Version 5 (2005-2009)
After version 4 with the idea to build up several sites, I wanted in version 5 to phase out GSENS to it’s own website and focus on making gurkoz!com even better.
Spent a long time to produce a more brighter design combined with the colors I used in version 4. Blue, yellow and white became the new theme. I was very pleased with the new look and it lifted the whole presentation to a more serious level. Over the years I made many revisions and moved things around here and there. A new start page emerged in which the key would be highlighted in the form of dynamic material updated automatically to reflect what stuff i was working with.
Basically, all this was running my new content management system that I developed just to handle my new sites. I spent an awful lot of time on this. Now when I look back at this, I do not know just how long this lasted. Some years after I had it all up and running, I even made a total overhaul of the system and started over from zero to make everything even better. The time that it included, I can not even think about.
The advantage of running a CMS basically came from having it all dynamic and the simplicity of the updates and so on. However, it all came at the cost of performance that made the site a bit slower. I spent too much time on building components that delivered real-time dynamic materials such as game statistics, and rss feeds. This also contributed to the site were a bit heavier to load with each new feature I added.
After several years, I felt that the job of building on my system became too hard and did more harm than good. I wanted something simple and clean, fast and uncomplicated.
In may 20 – 2009, version 5 was retired to make room for version 6.
Version 6 (2009-2011)
From the available built in functions and effects i soon realized the potential of a “one-paged” layout using dynamic content. I had previously used a lot of custom built ASP functions to fetch both data and content and this would turn out to be a great combination with Jquery.
With my own custom built system i called “Gurkomize” i found a way to setup multiple content windows i called “Plates”. These “Plates” could then be fully customized on a client base level using cookies to store the settings. Users could pick their own site background color, what “Plates” to be visible and their position on screen. All this creating a different experience for every visitor.
The “Plates” had all kinds of content ranging from simple RSS feeds from Twitter and Youtube to complex custom built game character statistics. Inside these “Plates” there where a lot going on with some comprehensive coding done. Using ASP i could refresh or post to get various results and data making it an even more interactive.
It was a technical achievement at the cost of rather high resource demanding and complexity. It did use a fully 100% dynamic content but it all depended on various external sources for retrieving that content. I was aware of those implications from the start and it worked out pretty good in the long run. There where a few occasions where the source material changed and i needed to go back and do further fixes to keep up.
Although it was a fun project and i was really happy with the end results, it all turned out to be a little stiff. Adding new content was a big project and the fact that it needed close attention and constant updates made me again think about new ways to redesign the site.
In August 2010 i left version 6 to begin construction of this “final” version 7. Almost a year later in July 2011, the new site was finished and version 6 was retired.
Version 7 (2011-2014)
I always liked the idea about having a main site with separate distinct sections as i did back in version 4. Although i remember the hassle of having to update things on multiple fronts. But that was back in the “static days” and we now had more ways to make things dynamic.
In January 2014 we (again) felt hampered by the shared site design and started to break out some parts into separate entities leaving just the core site with the v7 theme.
Version 8 (2014-2015)
At the same time gurkozproductions.com was being developed from the version 7 theme, we also created something new for gurkoz.com to act as an entry point. I needed something fast-loading and responsive that would summarize everything i worked on.
Although the site itself worked and got the point across, i was yet again struck by the realization that managing several websites really takes it’s toll. So much in fact that it turns into something negative and counterproductive.
Version 9 (2015+)
What you are seeing here is the ninth version of Gurkoz Productions. It would be silly of me to (again) call this the final version but instead we have now focused everything on the content. Because that’s really what it’s all about. Don’t get me wrong, i do enjoy creating my websites. But looking back, i have spent an insane amounts of time on these projects. Time i feel i should have spent creating art instead of chasing the latest webdesign technique. Art is timeless, technology – not so much.
Although i did learn so much during this time, it was not a waste in any respect. It turned into my career and i wouldn’t be where i am today without it. But the soul purpose of this website has always been a place where i could showcase my artwork, something that constantly got sidetracked by technology. So now, for the first time at version 9 the webdesign and theme will have to take a step back in favor of pure awesome content.