History (DukeSoakem – The Early Years)

Here’s one thing that was missing, however it’s now finally found (or in simpler terms I finally wrote it).  Everything starts somewhere, DukeSoakem.com is no different.  I have mentioned some of it in the FAQ section; however, here is the full detail of it, even going before Aqua Flash.  This is becoming like one of those documentaries now, like Stewie Griffin – The Untold Story.

2005-06 – Interest peaking, getting content, first signs of site life

2005 was when my interest in Super Soakers was at its highest.  That year and the year after were when I got the most soakers (and also had the most water fights), and from that, armed with a digital camera took a fair few pictures and videos of each, to the point where I felt I could make something of it like my own site.  Being less advanced than many at the site game though, I wasn’t really able to find a way to penetrate it through.  I’m not on about having sex here either, so if you were expecting that then you are in the wrong place.

It wasn’t until late 2005 when signs of a site first started.  My first attempt was working with someone else on a site called SSNation.  I don’t have any old pictures of the site, however while it was shaping up to be ok (it is the only site as well that had a darker colour scheme until DukeSoakem V2 was released), the massive issue was that while I paid for the name and the hosting, it was back then that because raw html coding from scratch was really the only option, that I cannot do, I had to rely on the other person to code the site when they pleased.  And predictably, they lost interest and it slowed down to the point where nothing else was done.  So sadly it ended up as one of those never completed half-baked sites.  Looking back I don’t really like the name much, didn’t sound very unique or individual, and sounded too similar to SSCentral.  So much so there is no evidence of its existence on the web now.  I also from that took a break for a while, I did learn some lessons though regarding websites, and that is there are ways to be self-reliant and do it on your own, the only person you can trust is yourself sometimes, and for site building that rang true for me.

2007-08 – Aqua Flash

Within the time I took a break, I began to work on creating a site on my own.  I knew I was useless at html and coding from scratch, so I used Freewebs who at the time I thought had a pretty cool set of templates and enough features to make a site for my stuff.  I actually had made a Nerf site before that (yeah I got into it at the time, no I have no interest at all anymore), which to my surprise was decently received by the community when I announced it on the Nerf HQ forums.  I didn’t do a great deal on that site though before I lost interest, however it set me up to make what would become Aqua Flash.  It was released in April 2007. 


An old picture of what is left of Aqua Flash using the wayback machine on Archive.org

I was satisfied at first as I’d finally made my own site where I decided what goes where and when I decide to do it and all that.  However again like before, things went downhill which ultimately led to the sites demise.  Freewebs first because of all the stupid layout changes they do quite often decided to ruin the gallery pages by every so often wiping all the images off so you had to redo it all.  That led me to find a separate place to host the gallery, which to me started to make the site feel disjointed and crumble, like an enemy ship slowly getting destroyed into fragments in a Star Trek film.  This layout changing made other parts of the site messed up as well.  After that was happening too much, I lost desire to work on the site anymore, so in May 2008 I closed it down went on hiatus.  Like SSNation, I also wore thin with the name, and also looking back, the site design and organisation now and even back then to me looked rushed, messy and just had a general sense of incompleteness.

2009-10 – Slight regeneration

I did regain an interest again not long after in 2009, in which now being armed with Adobe Web Premium CS3 that I had actually got a few years ago, this gave me a chance to make a proper site.  However in these years I didn’t really get round to materialising any of this, that and my laptop broke as well.  In these what mostly happened was that I obtained some blasters, all of which have now been sold, however they did at least lead the way to what I happily have now that I am keeping.  I did purchase the supersoaker.net domain name to use at that time, however looking back on it that name again in my view would have just displayed a slight sense of not much imagination, too plain and almost like taking an easy route, so personally I think it is a good job that didn’t materialise.  Needless to say that domain name expired on me after the year I didn’t use it.

2011 – DukeSoakem.com and comeback

In late 2010, with a new computer I once again wanted to make use of the content I had again, not having your own site after previously having one was starting to make me want to reboot things again, only this time better than before.  I got to work and read guides on how to use Dreamweaver CS3 and steadily made progress on making a site, there were errors and things I could have done better regarding how I organised things, however in my mind one thing for sure was that this was going to be the best site I myself created, in which I knew I could make it even better in the future after a while of it being released.  The most important part this time would be the name, this time I thought quite hard on creating a name that has a certain originality about it relating to something with the same attitude I was going for, but at the same time having a sense of individuality name wise compared to the other active Super Soaker sites, as well as not becoming forgettable to me.  A few names were thought of, however none of them seemed quite right.  Until one day with my enjoyment of DukeNukem, which is the sorta style I liked, bingo, and a working movie title was finally decided with DukeSoakem, it just felt right.

Throughout late 2010 to just after mid-2011, I got to work on creating and rebooting my Super Soaker site franchise, and from that DukeSoakem.com was released mid-July, to positive reception.  I was back alive and deadly.


For the next year I added gradual updates and made the site grow a bit more with content.  I then thought it was time to start on the next and final stage of the site, which was along with more content, a complete redesign, finally to how I ideally want everything to be.

2012 – DukeSoakem V2 – The Final Frontier – Going where I’ve not gone before

While DukeSoakem.com accomplished a lot of what I always wanted, there were still areas I felt needed improving, as well as now knowing Dreamweaver better, organisational mistakes could be solved.  There were site design areas that I wanted to add/improve upon which would have delayed the first version of the site too much at the time.  These included the review statistics looking slicker, as well as the actual link interface for each section to be more detailed and just less messy.  Because of what I wanted to do, I came to the decision of a redesign being a better idea.

I also took quite a lot of inspiration from the way the old Larami SuperSoaker.com website looked back in 2001, however I wanted this redesign to also have its own unique image and just be different, while also acknowledging inspiration taken from elsewhere.  I wanted to go for a darker coloured background as well, as I’ve personally always preferred those.

The redesign in terms of things falling right where I wanted and had planned actually worked very well without any major hitch which was a nice surprise.  Early mock ups went well and things got better from there, as the final template of how the site would look was done rather quickly after starting to get down to business on the redesign.


An initial mock-up of DukeSoakem V2 in Dreamweaver, with the extended old logo and new blank navigation buttons, with the black background, metallic water drop surround and blue writing.


A more closer and final mock in Dreamweaver again, new logo and navigation buttons filled in.

It all lead to this final design of what the site would look like.


The black background was replaced with a more dark grey, which is actually a pattern design and not just a solid colour.  I felt this completed things and just gave it that perfect futuristic clean look, almost like a dash on a spaceship.

From then on, it was just a matter of using this template and applying it to all the new and existing pages.  It went very well with everything really and again things just seemed to fit into place.

This is pretty much the last redesign I’ll do, I wanted to put this to bed by making what I feel is a personally satisfying complete design, as I don’t have the time to constantly change things around.  I’ve gone where I haven’t gone before when it comes to a much more cleanly designed site; I feel this is far better than anything I have done before site wise.  Hopefully you enjoy it and happy viewing.