Archive for the ‘Site Updates’ Category
This week we’re deploying some of the new upgrades to the ForumBuildr tool.
Starting tonight after the maintenance period:
You will notice that thread titles are now split up into three topics that were submitted by the user. When you add a thread title, you have to start with the topic it belongs to.
You can submit a logo the second a build begins, but you can’t submit forum styles until Thursday at noon. Previously, you could submit a forum style right away, which led to many mismatched styles and logos. Voting for logos will also end on Thursday at noon, and then when people build styles they’ll know what logo they’re working with. I think this will lead to better designs overall!
The goal is to have a new and easier style builder in place on Thursday too, but that will depend how this week pans out in terms of the many other tiny things we’re working on!
Some fun Halloween stuff is going on today! You should poke around the site and see what’s new!
It’s also the 1-year anniversary of when we launched the site as a closed Beta, so that’s a pretty big milestone.
Recently Scullyangel posted a thread outlining some of the highlights of the last year. Honestly it’s my site so obviously I would say this: but I’m really impressed with how far we’ve come in such a short time.
|Products for BP||0||16|
|Bandwidth||~ 30MB/day||~ 30GB/day|
|Lines of Code||11,497||24,812|
I’m also incredibly proud of the products we launched in our first year: ForumBuildr, Forumwarz Domination, INCIT, Episode 2, The Job Board and MOAR files.
There’s tons of new fun stuff planned, too. Keep watching this blog and twitter!
One of the biggest pains for our users has been the store interface. It worked really well for buying one or two items at a time, but it really sucked when buying more than that.
Additionally, the undo purchase button was just rife with abuse — people figured out all sorts of tricks to advance in the storyline with “borrowed” items and such.
Today I’m happy to release the first update to the store interface in about a year! Right now, you are presented with a more brief tabular view of the items the store has. You have a quantity box beside each item, with + and – buttons to raise and lower the value (although you can just type it in yourself too.)
You are forced to confirm your purchase, which is the new way of preventing unwanted sales. Also this gives us a chance to prevent repeated submissions by assinging each purchase a unique token. The confirmation page also tells you how much flezz you will have left after the purchase goes through.
Try it out, and let me know what you think!
I’ve been doing some work behind the scenes to create an API for INCIT, so that we can make clients on other platforms (right now we’re working on an iPhone version with one of our users.)
Thanks to Rails, creating the API is taking very little time. I was curious whether anyone else would be interested in APIs for other aspects of Forumwarz?
Nothing comes to mind right now, but if you’re a programmer and want access to our public data somehow, send me a tubmail or email with your idea and I’ll see what I can do.
I’ve been saying for months that the part of Forumwarz that I want to upgrade the most is the ForumBuildr v2.0 BETA.
Right now it’s the only part of Forumwarz that requires manual intervention. Every Sunday night since we launched (with a couple of exceptions), I have had to stay home and do some work to make sure the stylesheet submitted jives with the existing site stylesheet. I also have to run some scripts to assign buildr scores and assign the difficulty of the forum.
The upgrades are going to move towards the Forum builds being completely automated, as well as making them a lot more customizable. I figured I’d let you guys know what we’re planning to deploy over the next little while in pieces:
Forum Ideas will have to give three topics for thread titles. For example, an army forum might have “Guns, Ammo and Camo” as the three topics. When a user submits a thread title, they will have to assign it into one of those topics. (this is being deployed tonight!)
The images for those topics can be designed and uploaded, voted on, etc, like logos.
We are going to allow people to upload icons for the forum, like the small pixel art ones we have for existing forums.
I am going to deploy a new “Style” builder to appeal to a wider audience. It will be a form that allows people without knowledge of CSS to build styles by playing with drop downs and color pickers. This will also solve my problem with the CSS not working when deployed. People will also be able to upload a background image!
Users will be able to submit custom titles for enemies in the forum. Again, more voting and fun!
Finally, we’re considering letting people upload avatars for the enemies themselves.
I think with these changes, the builds will get a lot more exciting, and will gain a lot more of the capabilities of the non-community forums!
I don’t have exact dates for most of these features, but expect to see them deployed over the next couple of weeks!
When our site went down for half a day to move to the new server (a time I’ll call “Black Wednesday”), Evil Trout started up an already abandoned Twitter account so that we’d have a reliable source of information during this dark, dark time.
Although I initially mocked him for it, I now realize just how effective this microblogging service can be, especially when things are moving as rapidly as they are now.
So, check out our new Group Twitter account at twitter.com/forumwarz. We’ll still put major or long-term announcements on our blog, and we’ll still use special notifications on your Forumwarz homepage where appropriate. Of course, we’ll also keep using IDC and Flamebate to communicate with you guys.
But rapid announcements about updates, known bugs, small feature pushes, masturbatory play-by-play and other miscellany will start showing up on our Twitter feed, so be sure to subscribe to it if you’re a Forumwarz junkie! Note that you don’t need an account to follow it, just a browser and maybe an RSS reader.
See you on the internet!
Episode 2 is now only two weeks away, and we’ve still got some surprises! Previously, I’ve alluded to an unannounced gameplay feature that will be released at the same time as Episode 2, and I’m finally ready to announce it!
One thing lacking from Forumwarz is item drops when you beat enemies. Sure, we send you junk the next day, but if you are just 50 flezz short on an item you want, it sucks to have to wait, especially if you have forum visits remaining. Also, there is relatively little to collect in our game, since there are a limited amount of stores and items you can buy from them.
When Episode 2 launches, we’re introducing item drops in the form of “.moar” files. Even though this feature is launching with the paid content, it is open to all players. In fact, you gain the ability around level 3 in Episode 1.
The idea is that the Internet is like a dirty attic full of forgotten data files. Some are useful, some aren’t, and some are really rare. You are given the ability to equip “spider” software that scours forums as you browse (read: pwn) them. After each battle, the spider will transfer the files to your computer.
All the files are intially .moar files, which is the archive format of the Forumwarz universe. They are split up into multiple pieces, and you have to assemble them before you can access the file they contain. You are given a new tab on your character page that lists all the .moar files you’ve collected so far, the pieces you’ve found and how many are remaining before you can extract the file.
Files can be either audio, video, programs, pictures or documents, and can be equipped before you go into battle. Each player class can equip one of each type of file to boost their stats. Additionally, some files are specific to player classes.
Certain file pieces can only be found in certain forums, and some pieces are very rare. Harder forums generally drop better files. There are hundreds of files to collect and equip.
I’m pretty happy with the way the feature has turned out. The idea is to add more files over time, and eventually add a marketplace system where players can trade the pieces they don’t have with each other!
We’ve added a new panel (Profile > Addiction Level under on your home page) where you can view some stats about your Forumwarz usage, including an estimated amount of hours you’ve spent on the site.
The estimate is very weak because we don’t track your usage habits that closely. It just pulls up the stats we do know, then multiplies each one by an average amount of time it takes to do each of those tasks. Many things (like your time spent in Internet Delay Chat) aren’t tracked at all. So for most hardcore users you can view it as a “minimum” amount of hours you’ve spent on the site.
For other casual users, especially those who have bought cheating enhancements, the number might be a bit high. Here’s mine!
(Note that while I have definitely logged into forumwarz.com almost every day for the last year, since I typically do testing and pwnage on development servers it’s reporting a much smaller number. I would estimate the amount of hours I’ve spent on the site in the hundreds, maybe thousands :S)