Featured Site Update Announcements

Discussion in 'Support' started by Bloodcinder, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    This is where I will post announcements if I change or implement site features.

    Feel free to discuss the updates in this topic.
     
  2. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    Recently I overhauled chat and implemented some new features. The automatic NicKServ identification stuff mentioned in the chat topic is all new. In addition, I added sound support. Then I removed all the extraneous stuff from the chat page other than the chat window itself and the website title bar, so it doesn't need to be scrolled when you are viewing it.

    I've also re-enabled guests to register themselves without having to get ahold of me to do so. We'll see how this works out. I had a lot of problems with spammers before. I've got some fields that users are prompted with when they register that they have to answer correctly. Currently the questions are: 1) are you a human and 2) how many letters are there in "Some Imagination Required"? I've seen on support forums that these are effective in eliminating the vast majority of bot registrations.
     
  3. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    It looks like some decent mobile styles/mods have been developed recently for phpBB3, so I will be investigating these so that Simreq is more usable on phones like Android and iPhone. I am not sure if this is useful to anybody else but me.
     
  4. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    I am currently posting from my Android phone. I have installed an extra template that I call Ranged. (Get it?) When you are on a computer, the forum will recognize this and give you the default Mithril template. When you're on a mobile device it will recognize that and give you Ranged instead.

    I've allowed you to pick Ranged on a computer if you want, although it's unwieldy on a big screen. I've still got some customizing to do to it, in terms of color and branding.

    I changed the coloring to fit with our charcoal-and-red theme and included the site's logo (the "imagination eye") as the icon for the main dropdown menu in the mobile interface. I think it looks pretty snappy, and it does indeed seem to be easier to use than the regular template when looking at it on a small screen.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  5. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    I made it so that stickied topics at the top of the forum show up in an accentuated color. If this bothers anybody or they'd like to see a different effect, let me know.
     
  6. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    Geez, for some reason the transfer of RPG threads to subforums bumped all the threads. Annoying!
     
  7. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    Yeah, it tends to do that.
     
  8. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    Just switched the forum's search backend from native to MySQL-based. This improves the search results by making it less likely that fairly specific words or names will be ignored in search results as "too common."
     
  9. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    I changed some settings so that supposedly email updates will be more reliable/immediate now.

    Also tried to make XMPP/Jabber notifications an option, but they don't see to work and I have no way to troubleshoot it, so... Nevermind.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  10. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    I hid the user's post count, joined date, and location from showing up under their avatar. We have a small community that kind of renders that information pointless to see at a glance. (It can still be seen in the user's profile if you go there.) Then I tidied up the space taken by the contact icons at the bottom.

    I moved the "online" marker from the top right corner of posts to the top-left, with different stylization. It's a little more eye-catching there.

    Doing all this allowed me to size up the avatars to 175 width by 125 height (see my current one for an example). The posts end up being the same height as they were before all these modifications, yet you are now allowed 175x125 instead of 100x100 for your avatar.

    For reference, 175x125 is a 1.4:1 ratio. Square would be 125x125 (duh). If you want a cinematic ratio, that would be 175x108. If you want a profile ratio, that would be 87x125. I think that gives plenty of options for nice-looking avatars.
     
  11. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    Some people wanted me to start posting dice results in the Feral Sods game. Naturally this made me to decide to go overboard. I've added a BBCode to display this stuff in a cute fashion, reminiscent of how these things look in the official character sheets or other documentation.

    Example...
    Code:
    [d=Title for Statistic or Roll]123[/d]
    
    Becomes...
    Title for Statistic or Roll123

    An example of the intended use...
    John hits with his first dagger Atk17 for Dmg8 but misses on his second dagger Atk12.

    It is up to the DM whether they are including modifiers or not. By convention, my suggestion is to display the results of any d20's (or d6's or d%'s if pertinent) without the modifiers, just the roll result, since that's what a player would actually see during the game. But as you can see for the example I gave, anything numerical could be represented in this way if you like it.

    In other words... Kevin and I, should either of us choose to use this for anything, must make clear policies about what they mean.

    There are also red "fail" and green "success" versions. Just use df and ds tags instead of d tags. For example again...
    John hits with his first dagger Atk17 for Dmg8 but misses on his second dagger Atk12.

    You can also use text instead of numbers in the results area, such as Armor+1 Studded Leather or HPTemporary +2.

    Let me know if you have any problems or questions.

    As usual, it looks good in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari... but it does not look as intended in Internet Explorer. Does anybody on Simreq use Internet Explorer...?
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  12. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    As I noted in the other thread, Atk cut off the k in Chrome... but just so you know, everything else here looks great.

    Well, after looking closer, there's some font size problems. The U and H in Studded Leather appear as just 2 lines next to each other.



    Again, not really an issue, just noting it.
     

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  13. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    As I said over there, I think this is because you don't have ClearType turned on in Windows, and newer versions of Windows are lazy about down-sizing text if you don't have ClearType on.
     
  14. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    Correct. I just enabled it and everything looks great (including the k not being cut off). It changed the appearance of my browser, but not the pages. I had to restart it for the page to look different.
     
  15. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    Everything in Windows is sooo much easier on your eyes with ClearType on.
     
  16. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    I refined how it appears in the good browsers, then I rigged it so it shows up right in IE as well.

    Let me know if any new problems cropped up.

    I also sliiiiiightly increased the line-spacing for paragraphs (but I don't think most people will notice) and set paragraph alignment to justified instead of left-aligned (which I honestly thought I did a long time ago). I doubt anybody will notice or complain. (You may need to force-refresh your browser to see the changes.) Ideally this will make things easier on the eyes. If the opposite seems to be the case, I can change it back.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  17. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    I personally am not sure that I like the new spacing. Maybe it's just because I'm used to the old, but it looks like words are just all over the place, since justified ends up spacing things to the side, and the line-spacing spaces things above and below.

    All I know is everything is easier to read now that I set ClearType! :p

    But let's see where Kevin might weigh in.
     
  18. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    I can easily tweak it back if people don't like those changes.
     
  19. chefTENGU

    chefTENGU Does not approve Administrator

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    I'm happy.
     
  20. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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  21. chefTENGU

    chefTENGU Does not approve Administrator

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    TurningMyCrankYou Know Just How to Do It
     
  22. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    You can now search your PM's just like you can search posts on the forum.

    Go to your inbox or anywhere else in your user CP that you'd normally see the "New PM" button. Right next to that is a search box you can use to find a PM containing certain words/phrases. You can also do an advanced search.

    Let me know if there are any problems.
     
  23. Seegtease

    Seegtease Merciful Mage of Many Means Administrator

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    You never cease to amaze me with the alacrity you demonstrate when you code something if you really want to.
     
  24. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    It's easy when I see the need enough times and find an installation that looks pretty quick/easy.

    Not so easy if I have to do it from scratch.
     
  25. Bloodcinder

    Bloodcinder Developer

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    It's getting hard to maintain this forum due to the development paradigm of phpBB. Since everything's a matter of custom hacking the code, it's impossible to do a software update without breaking everything we have, which includes many of the features I had to add in manually that are by default expected in most forum installations. Basically, we've got an antiquated limping forum.

    Something like vBulletin (which is commercial software) is much easier to use because there is very little need to edit any core components-- rather, all modifications are in the form of plugins that essentially "overlap" or "sit on top" of the forum and do their thing, leaving the backend mostly untouched. I miss working with vBulletin under previous forums, because it made things much easier.

    I'm currently investigating an open source forum application called Vanilla. It looks really well-rounded. The company that is developing it also makes it available in a commercial environment hosted on their end with a few extra features, so there is the benefit that the open source version is essentially a fully supported piece of commercial software but made available for free. It's plugin-based like vBulletin and has a lot of good social integration features that we totally lack under phpBB. It also has good integration features like the kind necessary to support my development on the LiveSheets project.

    As with many of my development ideas, this may entirely be a matter of me talking out of my ass, but I'm going to have a look-see and determine if by switching to Vanilla we can improve our "quality of living" at the forum, future-proof it a little bit, and open the door for even better features that currently I couldn't hope to implement under our existing software. This may also help us to grow the forum beyond just a dozen-at-most active members.

    Nothing will happen immediately, but I figured I would log this so people know.