Okay, there aren't any. Sites don't win awards unless they have lots of eye candy, Java scripts, and other bandwidth-eaters. I'm more concerned with quick loading and 100% compatibility with all browsers. But although my site hasn't won any awards, it has scored the following minor triumphs for me:
The first three items were accompanied by checks in the mail. The last one is the highest compliment I can imagine for a game. So who needs awards?
- The section called "How to Show Off Your Layout" (Trains => Advice page) was published (in improved form) in the November 2001 Model Railroader magazine.
- The map called "Robber Baron" (Mike's Stuff => RR Tycoon II page) caught the eye of the makers of the computer game Railroad Tycoon 2, and they included it in the game's Platinum Edition. They wanted to use the
"Monopolize" map as well, but I declined, fearing copyright troubles.
- My poem, "I Am the Very Model of a Modern N-Scale Modeler" (Trains => Humor page), caught the eye of the publisher of N Scale Railroading magazine, and he printed it in the Nov/Dec 2002 issue.
- More than one model-railroad club has asked for (and gotten) permission to reprint parts of my Trains => Advice page in their newsletters.
- Every December, somebody posts either the link or the full text of my Model Railroader's Night Before Christmas (Trains => Humor page) in various model-railroading newsgroups.
- A chief warrant officer of the US Marine Corps has expressed in interest in using my wargame, Gators!, for training exercises with his unit.
About the Site
My little site has gained a presence on the web! The train trackplans page is quite well-known among N-scale model railroaders; I get one or two e-mails a week from total strangers, thanking me for my designs or asking for advice on how to build them. The home-made-wargames page is also gaining a following. Both have made it into the search engines, although I never submitted them; they made it on word of mouth and sheer volume of hits.
The overall theme is, "All original, all downloadable, all free." Everything on my site is my own creation, except for a couple of the graphics. Everything can be downloaded, and I don't charge a cent for any of it. The thrill of knowing that people -- not just friends and family, but total strangers -- like my creations enough to use them, is all I need in return. I like the idea of free stuff on the internet, and I'm doing my part to maintain the supply.
05/29/2006: Because my little site has become so popular, particularly in regard to the free downloads, I'm frequently running out of the limited bandwidth that comes with free sites. So I've bitten the bullet and paid for my own site and my own domain.
What does "Cke1st" mean?
The idea for my 'net handle came to me years ago, when I was batting around ideas for a custom license plate. It had to be six characters, it had to have meaning to me, and it had to be something that wasn't already taken.
I specifically wanted something Biblical, but all the obvious ones like JN3-16 were already spoken for. So I started considering other verses that mean a lot to me, and Matthew 6:33 came to mind:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Hmmm, let's see. Seek ye first. See kee first. C-ke-1st. Yeah, that works. Cke1st it was.
I never did get the license plate. But as I started signing up on various web sites, I made Cke1st my "other" name, and now, if you do a web search on "Cke1st," all you'll find is references to me and my site. So now you know. Aren't you sorry you asked? But at least now you can pronounce it.
How This Site Was Made
The architecture of this site is somewhat unique. Technically, there is no home page - you can access any of the main pages from anywhere in the site. The top-of-page menu system looks and acts like a tabbed interface, and also serves as its own site map, since it shows you exactly where you are and where you can go at all times. This is a bit of a pain for me to maintain, but it makes the site flexible and easy to navigate. I used text instead of graphics for the menus so it would load faster and be more accessible to those with visual handicaps.
I wrote the HTML for this site myself, using WordPad. Menu buttons, train trackplans and game graphics were created in MS Paint and converted to GIF's with IrFanView. My MIDI files were sequenced with Anvil Studio. In plain English, I didn't pay a penny for the software that created what you see and hear, and I didn't rob anyone to do it.
03/2006: I realized that my navigation buttons function almost exactly like a tabbed interface, so I changed their look to match their function.
No electrons were harmed during the testing of this site.