Nothing to say...
Join Date: Sep 2000
A significant milestone in the question as to when skinning became less popular was the introduction of Winamp3 and the free-form skin engine.
Not that introducing a new form of skinning itself killed off interest, more so that fact that it was introduced and it was....
Piss poor documentation
The fact also that each time a new build of winamp got released something either broke in the skin engine, or something got fixed that rendered a lot of previously working 'work arounds' useless, I lost count of the amount of times I'd have to rebuild a skin because something code wise got changed, got sick to the back teeth of it in the end, things didn't improve any when Winamp5 came along, sure by all means fix things, but Jesus, please leave us the ability to use our workarounds, don't just break everything and be done with it! (invisible buttons I'm looking at you....)
Also the fact that the default skin that came with winamp 3, and to some extent even the default Winamp modern skins are hideously complicated buggers to understand , using those as , and I quote...
"Please feel free to use this skin as a reference point to build your new Winamp5 skins."
Was a huge mistake, I could almost hear peoples heads exploding as they tried to figure out how things ticked on the default modern skin, mine was one of them.
Ok, so classic skins stayed the same, so what happened there?, again, I see another fundamental mistake from Nullsoft here, anyone remember the splitting of the site between modern and classic?, great idea but suddenly you took away the ability for people to easily find your classic skin, sure they were still there, but isn't it well known most people can't be bothered moving around web pages, they go to the bits they know, so the chances of people clicking into what effectively was a whole new site, was low, I know my download rates fell through the floor for classic once the site was split, while at the same time my modern download rates went through the roof.
And then just for kicks, the classic skin spec went and done changed, not by a massive amount, but enough I think for people to wonder if was worth updating all those old old skins just to show the new fancy window, I know I wondered myself if it was really worth it, I pushed myself to re-configure all mine just 'cos I'm a sad completists.
Sadly for me, I've totally lost interest in skinning, it's just as fun as it used to be for me, and I think some of that is also down to the community becoming more and more fragmented, on one side you have classic skinners who are slowly dwindling away to other things and interests on the other side you have modern skinners, don't even get me started here, they either fall into two sections, super whizz bang artists who think they have created the next mona lisa ( who can forget some of the flame wars and 100 page threads from the modern forums) and then the coders who think that you must write 10 million lines of code to make anything approaching a good interface, both of whom tend to look down their noses at outsiders.
I would have hoped by now we would have had a community of both classic and modern skinners kicking out great work, with a group of crossover people who can do both, but sadly we seem to have got the opposite, and that goes back to point one here, winamp 3 and the freeform engine....
It's now what, 7 years since that was launched, maybe even more, I forget and do we still have a stable platform to work with?, the answer would seem to be still no as still bug fixes and changes are being made.
Do we still have anywhere near decent documentation? NSDN was last updated in 2002, token updates here and there, but nothing concrete, mind you , the same could be levelled at other players documentation as well and if it wasn't for these forums being here, then there would likely be no reference to any aspect of skinning.
Someone mentioned money back there, I'm sure if AOL had been able to charge everyone a dollar per skin download you would have seen love and attention lavished on the development like no other, but as it's effectively a free product, what chance ?, it's noticeable that on-line support for Winamp Pro has been beefed up somewhat, support your paying customers and all that.