is your one-stop shop for video game & movie news, reviews, interviews and information. Video games coverage includes Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, PS2, PC, iPhone and many other platforms, including web-based games and BBGs.en-usWed, 27 Jan 2021 00:00:00 GMTWed, 27 Jan 2021 19:39:27 GMT 2021, DarqFlare EnterprisesGamer of DarqnessOMGN Not Shutting (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>Just an FYI folks! Contrary to previous reports, we're not shutting down OMGN at this time. We're exploring making some changes, so stay tuned!</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Wed, 11 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT Release Notes: to (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>Sorry for the long delay in updating you on OMGN's releases. Again. At this point it should just be expected, right?</p> <p><strong>Primary Domain</strong></p> <p>We've had multiple domains for OMGN for quite some time now, and we've allowed users to access our content using those different domains. We've also allowed users to access OMGN with and without the 'www' in front. Well, we're not doing that anymore. From now on, any attempts to access OMGN on one of our alternate domains, or with the 'www' in front, will results in an automatic redirection to our primary domain, without the 'www' - This is for consistency's sake, really.</p> <p><strong>Facebook Open Graph Implementation</strong></p> <p>We've added more social hooks for <a href="" target="_blank" title="OMGN on Facebook">Facebook</a>. Facebook is slowly rolling out their new Timeline feature, which allows other developers to hook in to Facebook to say what actions a user is performing in their application. <a href="" target="_blank" title="Spotify">Spotify</a> has already been doing this - they show what songs a user is listening to, on Facebook. We've added support in OMGN to show on Facebook what a user is doing on the site, from reading articles to posting in the Forum. If you don't want to share this information with Facebook, there's a preference setting in your <a href="/user/account" target="_blank" title="User Account">User Account</a> that you can turn off.</p> <p><strong>Spoiler Text</strong></p> <p>If you read us regularly, you'll have likely noticed a <a href="/feature/2011/10/14/spoiler-alert-kotaku-boldly-reveals-plot-twist-in-batman-arkham-city" target="_blank" title="Spoiler Alert: Kotaku Boldly Reveals Plot Twist in Batman: Arkham City">feature we ran about Kotaku</a> spoiling parts of <a href="/game/batman-arkham-city" target="_blank" title="Batman: Arkham City">Arkham City</a>. We've now included the ability to black out text in our articles for spoilers, allowing those readers who want to view the spoiler to hover over the text to view it. Nice, right? We haven't used it yet, though.</p> <p><strong>Google+ Link</strong></p> <p>We've added a link in our site header, as well as in other pertinent spots across the site, to our new <a href="" target="_blank" title="OMGN on Google+">Google+ page</a>. Even more ways for us to spread our influence across the interwebs!</p> <p><strong>Movie Naming</strong></p> <p>Links to movies throughout the site will now include the year, simply because movies get remade so damn often that we need to clarify what movie you're clicking to go view!</p> <p><strong>Redirects</strong></p> <p>We've added a bunch more invalid URL redirects to help our readers get to the content they were intending to view, as opposed to getting Error 404 pages.</p> <p><strong>User Forum Blocks</strong></p> <p>We've added a new control for moderators to be able to disable the ability for certain users to post on the Forum. I'm sure you can deduce why.</p> <p><strong>User Avatar File Extension Added: .jpeg</strong></p> <p>So this also goes for all images that OMGN staffers can add, but the user avatar now supports the .jpeg file extension as well. It's always supported .jpg, and it was a bit stupid that it didn't support the one-character-longer extension too.</p> <p><strong>OMGN.US Domain Support</strong></p> <p>Back in September, we acquired the OMGN.US domain. Thus, we had to add support to the site for it! You can now access OMGN on five different domains.</p> <p><strong>Publish Capabilities</strong></p> <p>One nice thing I finally added to OMGN Admin is the ability for publishers (i.e. me) to easily publish an article. This includes setting the proper publication date on the article, as well as creating a tweet on <a href="" target="_blank" title="OMGN on Twitter">Twitter</a> and page link on Facebook. Makes life a lot easier. It also automatically creates the redirect URL for Twitter. The joy!</p> <p><strong>Oversave Detection</strong></p> <p>This is something that most content management websites need as staffs grow, and we finally have it too. In our Admin section, we're now tracking when content was last saved. That way, if two of our staffers have the same content open at the same time and one saves, the other will be notified that the content they're modifying has been saved in the meantime by someone else. Makes it a lot easier to detect if we've destroyed someone's save. As of now, there's no support on the main site for this, as it's highly unlikely that a user would oversave their own work.</p> <p><strong>More Links Added in Admin</strong></p> <p>Again, something just for OMGN staffers, but we finally added even more view and preview links for all content that staffers are working on, in the Admin section. There are also a bunch of other thinks linked internally in Admin now. Again, making things easier for us to run the site for all of you!</p> <p><strong>Admin View Override</strong></p> <p>A nice little feature I added is the ability for OMGN staffers to view the site in a number of modes, such as someone who is not logged in, or a non-admin. It helps.</p> <p><strong>Admin Forum Signature Controls</strong></p> <p>We've had controls to clear Forum signatures for users on the site for awhile now, but we didn't have anything in Admin itself. Nor could we preview a user's Forum signature unless we loaded up a post on the Forum itself. This situation has been rectified.</p> <p><strong>Dev Images Copy</strong></p> <p>Another nice little utility I built (pretty much for myself) is the ability to copy down images hosted on the live OMGN site down to my local development machine, so that I actually have them locally. Good times!</p> <p><strong>Internal Improvements</strong></p> <p>This set of releases also saw a set of internal code improvements for performance. We tend to tackle performance on a regular basis. The last few months have been no different.</p> <p><strong>Bugfixes, Documentation Fixes</strong></p> <p>As always, we've had rounds of bugfixes and internal documentation fixes.</p> <p>Wow, lots of stuff the last few months! Until next time.</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Thu, 08 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT Release Notes: to (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>By now it's obvious that I need to make my release notes blog posts a bit more frequently. Anyway, here's some coding goodness information to hold you over until next time.</p> <p><strong>Ajax Controls For Comments</strong></p> <p>We have Ajax (and some regular Web) controls on <a href="/forum" target="_blank" title="Forum">Forum</a> posts that allow you to edit and delete your posts. OMGN administrators and moderators also have the ability to block and unblock posts. This functionality has been added to comments on articles and blog posts! As comment owners, you can edit and delete your comments up to 120 seconds after posting them. OMGN administrators can always edit and block all comments. Enjoy!</p> <p><strong>Author-Specific Article Pages</strong></p> <p>We have built pages on the site that will list a particular author's articles, much in the same manner as we currently list all <a href="/news/list" target="_blank" title="News">News</a>, <a href="/feature/list" target="_blank" title="Features">Features</a>, etc. For example, go see all of <a href="/user/articles/kjhovanec" target="_blank" title="Kyle James Hovanec's Articles">Kyle James Hovanec's articles</a>!</p> <p><strong>Click To Load More Forum Posts On Reply</strong></p> <p>Thanks to OMGN staff member <a href="/user/details/liamreid" target="_blank" title="Liam Reid">Liam Reid</a> for this suggestion! Now, when you're replying to a <a href="/forum" target="_blank" title="Forum">Forum</a> thread, in addition to the Latest Post section showing up, you can click to load 5 more posts earlier chronologically than the latest post, allowing you to dynamically load up earlier and earlier parts of the conversation you're replying to.</p> <p><strong>No Repeated Emails For Additional User Messages</strong></p> <p>OMGN sends emails to tell users when they have a new user message here on the site. If a user still has an unread message, we won't send repeated emails. Just a nice-to-have kind-of thing.</p> <p><strong>Hit Enter, Submit Ajax</strong></p> <p>Some of our Ajax forms, like logging in, required you to click a button to submit the form. Now, hitting enter will work properly in submitting these forms, just like non-Ajax webpages. Hurray!</p> <p><strong>Moved Forums Redirection</strong></p> <p>We goofed and when we renamed some of our <a href="/forum" target="_blank" title="Forum">Forum</a>s and didn't put in HTTP redirects to point the old URLs to the new. That's been corrected.</p> <p><strong>More Redirections</strong></p> <p>We get HTTP requests for all sorts of paths that don't exist on the site. Some of these requests get called over and over again, such as the normal path for <a href="" target="_blank" title="PHPbb">PHPbb</a>'s <a href="" target="_blank" title="PHPbb - 5.3. Orienting Yourself in the User Control Panel">User Control Panel</a>. We've made redirections for some of these so that users will at least get to content on the site that's related to the not-found request.</p> <p><strong>Content Trimmed On Submission</strong></p> <p>Data can be in any form these days, and anybody can type things into webpage forms that isn't the intended data type. You could even put spaces before your username when trying to login, for example. We've gone ahead and enabled auto-trimming of leading and trailing spaces on all applicable fields here on the site. Just to make sure people are submitting things properly in the end.</p> <p><strong>Media Companies &amp; Resources On Reviews</strong></p> <p>We disabled the ability for us to link media companies and <a href="/resource/list" target="_blank" title="Resources">Resources</a> to <a href="/review/list" target="_blank" title="Reviews">Reviews</a> because we didn't want to confuse our readers into thinking we were reviewing those media companies and <a href="/resource/list" target="_blank" title="Resources">Resources</a>. But with the fact that our <a href="/review/list" target="_blank" title="Reviews">Reviews</a> are quite obviously reviewing one specific thing, we think that ambiguity doesn't exist. So we enabled linking those up!</p> <p><strong>Remaining Small Images Added To Sprites</strong></p> <p>Awhile back we deployed sprites on the site to increase performance on both the server end and in transmitting the data to the user's browser. We've folded in the remainder of small images that never made it into the sprites image. If you're not seeing the left and right arrows when viewing game screenshots, for example, then reload the page so the new stylesheet and image will pick up.</p> <p><strong>Ability To Share Article Images</strong></p> <p>We have small 150x75px images on all articles on the site for list views. Many articles essentially have the same image on them, such as <a href="/search?search=&quot;ninja+gaiden&quot;&amp;record=0" target="_blank" title="Search: &quot;ninja gaiden&quot;">Ninja Gaiden</a> articles. Going forward, we can share the same image across articles, rather than having to have a duplicate copy on the server and forcing the user to download another copy.</p> <p><strong>Administrative Access Control Enhancements</strong></p> <p>Administratively, we have access control capabilities to ensure certain staff members can only access what they should be able to access. We've streamlined a lot of this functionality, expanded it's usage in places where it wasn't and "corrected" the controls for things like separating between <a href="/news/list" target="_blank" title="News">News</a>, <a href="/feature/list" target="_blank" title="Features">Features</a> and other article types.</p> <p><strong>Administrative Ability To Delete From Edit Pages</strong></p> <p>Administratively, we can delete content. Obviously. But this ability was limited to pages outside of the edit page for editing said content. We finally added the capability to administratively delete content when you're viewing that content's edit page.</p> <p>Oh, side note - this functionality also now exists for <a href="/blog/list" target="_blank" title="Blogs">Blog</a> posts too, so at least users can get something nice from this as well.</p> <p><strong>Administrative Search Functionality</strong></p> <p>We have several pages on the administrative side of things that list out things like articles, media companies and the like. These are all paginated in the same manner as the user site of the site, such as paginated <a href="/news/list" target="_blank" title="News">News</a> articles. We didn't have search functionality built into these lists on the administrative side, however. That's been added, so we should be a bit more productive when looking for things to edit/delete.</p> <p><strong>Facebook API Logging</strong></p> <p>We've had to enable logging of <a href="" target="_blank" title="Facebook">Facebook</a> <a href="" target="_blank" title="Facebook Developers">API</a> calls because for some reason, some data isn't returned from <a href="" target="_blank" title="Facebook">Facebook</a> for specific users, causing us to break when users try to login with <a href="" target="_blank" title="Facebook">Facebook</a>. We're not sure why this is happening just yet, so the logging will help us continue to investigate.</p> <p><strong>Maintenance Page During Releases</strong></p> <p>We put up a maintenance page during our 4.4.0 release that added <a href="/movie/list" target="_blank" title="Movies">Movies</a> support. We will now display the maintenance page during <em>every</em>&nbsp;release, that way nobody will end up viewing the website in a halfway format and potentially see breakages, or generate internal errors. Not to worry, our releases almost never take more than 20 seconds!</p> <p><strong>Internal Function Consolidation</strong></p> <p>Internally, we've consolidated some function calls and usages to make the code cleaner and more reusable. This just means better productivity from <em>me</em>&nbsp;when I'm coding in the future. And a more flexible codebase.</p> <p><strong>Internal Correctness Fixes</strong></p> <p>There are a bunch of ways you can achieve the same end result in most programming languages. We've "fixed" from using one way of checking data internally to another that is the code standard. Earlier code getting updated to act like later code, in this case.</p> <p><strong>Internal Documentation Fixes</strong></p> <p>We use an industry-standard commenting system to document our code, and we've had to make a lot of fixes to those comments lately. My fault, as always.</p> <p><strong>Bugfixes</strong></p> <p>We've got a bunch of random bugfixes throughout the site in these past few releases. As always. Such as fixing a bug with the <a href="/site-map/xml" target="_blank" title="XML Site Map">XML site map</a>, and checking whether a tag exists before actually creating it.</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Wed, 07 Sep 2011 23:00:00 GMT Release Notes: to (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>Well folks, chances are you're here thanks to the <a href="/announcement/2011/08/08/omgn-goes-to-the-movies" target="_blank" title="OMGN Goes to the Movies!">announcement</a> that we've expanded coverage to movies as well. I'm here to tell you about all of the awesomeness that has happened here at OMGN since my last update. That puts us starting at release!</p> <p><strong>Movies!</strong></p> <p>Alright, obviously the big addition to the site right now are <a href="/movie/list" target="_blank" title="Movies">movies</a>. They have the same status as games here, where we can add movie stills just like game screenshots. We can <a href="/review/list" target="_blank" title="Reviews">review</a> them and cover them just like <a href="/game/list" target="_blank" title="Games">video games</a>. There are a lot of things that adding movies coverage to the site has caused to happen, so I'll outline all of those changes with italics. I should cover all of these changes separately.</p> <p><em>Channels</em></p> <p>The addition of another content type's coverage on OMGN necessitated adding the concept of Channels. We can categorize articles in the Video Games and Movies channels now (and there's an <a href="/announcement/channel/omgn" target="_blank" title="Announcements: OMGN Channel">OMGN</a> channel too, for <a href="/announcement/list" target="_blank" title="Announcements">Announcements</a>). Channels allow us to show you what industry the article relates to, as well as offering you a link to view, say, all <a href="/news/channel/movies" target="_blank" title="News: Movies Channel">News that fall under the Movies channel</a>. We're planning on adding more and easier ways to view content from your channel of choice.</p> <p><em>New RSS Feeds</em></p> <p>We've added two new RSS feeds that act exactly like the two channels act: <a href="" target="_blank" title="OMGN: Video Games Channel">Video Games</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="OMGN: Movies Channel">Movies</a>. I'm expecting to lose subscriptions to our <a href="" target="_blank" title="OMGN: Online Movies &amp; Games Network">main feed</a> and gain some on the Video Games Channel feed.</p> <p><em>Site Name Change</em></p> <p>Yes, we've changed the name of the website to <strong>Online Movies &amp; Games Network</strong> to match our full coverage. And once again, our acronym finally makes sense again! Oh, and we've also changed a lot of keywords, descriptions and other copy around the site to reflect our two-industry coverage now.</p> <p><em>Game Companies -&gt; Media Companies</em></p> <p>With the ability to link movies to companies (like we link games to Developers and Publishers), we needed to abstract out game companies to media companies. Not that you ever really saw this much on the site, save for companies linked in articles.</p> <p><strong>Facebook &amp; Twitter Login Enhancements</strong></p> <p>We've had <a href="" target="_blank" title="Facebook Login Integrated">Facebook login support</a> for awhile now, and we've had a couple bugs crop up here and there in the past. We believe we've patched those bugs up while adding support to link your Facebook account to your existing OMGN account (rather than having to create a whole new account).</p> <p>Not only this, but we've also extended the ability to link your Twitter account on over to your existing OMGN account. If you've done that then you can also use Twitter to login, just like Facebook! The reason that logging in with Twitter won't work unless you pre-link to your account is because Twitter doesn't offer the ability to gather users' email addresses in their API - and we require email addresses for user accounts here, even ones created via a social network.</p> <p><strong>Ajax Login</strong></p> <p>What else would our recent releases be without a nice Ajax login to go with our extended Facebook and Twitter support. Clicking on most any login link here on the site will result in a new Ajax overlay, allowing you to login without navigating away from the page you're on. It'll simply reload when the login procedure is done. Finally!</p> <p>Unfortunately, due to limitations in screen size as well as some Javascript issues, Ajax logins are disabled for Mobile.</p> <p><strong>Google+ UID in User Details</strong></p> <p>Some of us like to put our social networking contact information in our user details. Well, said users can now enter their Google+ UID into their user details. <a href="/user/details/rfludwick" target="_blank" title="User: Details: rfludwick">I already have</a>.</p> <p><strong>Disabled Sending User Messages on Mobile</strong></p> <p>Due to the limitations I mentioned in the Ajax Login section, we've also disabled sending user messages on Mobile. Sorry!</p> <p><strong>Recent Searches</strong></p> <p>Just a quick note here, but you'll get to see twice as many recent searches when you search for things on OMGN, and we've also stopped returning duplicates!</p> <p><strong>Escape - No More Overlay!</strong></p> <p>If you hit the Escape key on your keyboard while you have an overlay window open (like the new Ajax login, for example) then the overlay will close. Spiffy!</p> <p><strong>Password Check Fix</strong></p> <p>We had an issue with our password check for user logins. The issue's been fixed, but there's a likelihood that you'll have to use our <a href="/user/password-recover" target="_blank" title="User: Recover Password">password recovery</a> tool in order to be able to login again. Sorry about that. This fix was big enough and had enough of a side effect to warrant telling you about it separate to all of the other bugfixes.</p> <p><strong>Maintenance Override Capability</strong></p> <p>If you happened to be visiting OMGN during the five-minute window where we were in maintenance mode, then you will have noticed that we now actually have a maintenance mode! Up until today's release for movies support, we've never had to put OMGN into a temporarily unusable state during any release. Sadly, today's release necessitated the ability to do that during the release. A prior release to today included the functionality to put the site into maintenance mode and we used it today for about five minutes. Hope you didn't see it, just the same!</p> <p><strong>Bugfixes, Etc.<br /></strong></p> <p>We had a few bugfixes, text fixes and other things recently. Here are a few:</p> <ul> <li>Fixed Google +1 showing up in Mobile</li> <li>Fixed the Contact Us page link in the Ajax error overlay</li> <li>Fixed the Full Site Map returning the Standard website view when attempted to view in Mobile</li> </ul> <p>That's it for this round. It's a lot to digest and all sorts of fun for us here at OMGN. I hope you enjoy some of the social network integrations, as well as the new movies coverage!</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Sat, 06 Aug 2011 23:00:00 GMT Release Notes: to (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>Apparently I haven't been keeping everybody up-to-date on OMGN releases. It's been awhile since my last update here, which I made back in <strong>May</strong>! I'll try to keep these in chronological order from oldest to newest.</p> <p><strong>Google +1 Added</strong></p> <p>Google released its +1 button ahead of Google Plus' release. We decided to be an early-adopter of the +1 button here at OMGN, allowing you to upvote our content. This allows Google to know that our content means something, as well as now allowing you to share it in Google Plus. Give us a hand if you like what you're reading!</p> <p><strong>Full Sitemap Cache</strong></p> <p>We've implemented a 30-minute cache of our full site map, thus making it so it only needs to be generated once if it hasn't been generated in the prior 30 minutes. It takes a bit of horsepower to generate that page, so caching it helps our website performance.</p> <p><strong>Media Capabilities in Admin</strong></p> <p>We've had to manually alter our articles' HTML in order to embed YouTube and other types of media. We've added support in admin to handle this better. This just means it's easier to get this kind of content to you, and also with fewer errors.</p> <p><strong>Tons of Helper Functions</strong></p> <p>I took quite a bit of time when prepping site version 4.3.5 to build out helper functions, making it easier to generate article links, blog links, full names, etc. As a result of these convenience functions, it was a lot easier to add things like the "Preview" text you should now see in the site if you've got an unpublished blog post. Your unpublished blog posts will now show up in the website to only you when you are logged in (well, site admins as well), and it will carry preview text as well. This allows you to see how the link will appear in lists, etc.</p> <p>Additionally, we have extended this Preview text throughout the site for admins and forum moderators as well. Preview games, resources and articles will show up for us in the same manner and admin or moderator forums will carry similar text. It's the little things that help make life easier for all of us, readers and admins alike.</p> <p><strong>Alternate Hosts</strong></p> <p>This is something I thought would be interesting to include, if you're interested to hear. I develop OMGN locally and test locally. When everything's ready to go Live, I push it out. But if I want to compare a page locally to Live, I had to copy-paste and alter the URL into a new browser tab. Not anymore. I built a nice convenience that allows me to easily switch between hosts (local or Live). I thought it was kinda cool.</p> <p><strong>Cross Domain XML</strong></p> <p>There's a cross domain XML specification that Adobe has published, allowing website operators to specify what other hosts out on the web can access their content. We didn't have, but now we do. Mostly I build it so we wouldn't get non-hits on a non-existent file, but also just in case other website operators want to use it.</p> <p><strong>Facebook Login Support</strong></p> <p>In case you haven't noticed yet, we support Facebook logins on OMGN now! This was a little fun to put together. I plan on extending this to at least Twitter in the near future, and probably Google too.</p> <p><strong>Other!</strong></p> <p>We had a whole host of other bugfixes and internal improvements to the site during the last month and a half. I'd rather not get into them at this point, but rest assured that they were good ones!</p> <p>I hope this has enlightened you as far as the goings-on regarding OMGN code. It's still fun for me to put these together.</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Sat, 09 Jul 2011 23:00:00 GMT Release Notes: to (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>It's that time again! Some release notes through</p> <p><strong>Status Page</strong></p> <p>You may have heard of this in our <a href="/announcement/2011/05/26/omgn-status-launched" target="_blank" title="OMGN Status Launched">site announcement</a>, but we've got a new <a href="/status" target="_blank" title="Status">Status</a> page here on the site. It shows some metrics, such as uptime and visits, over the last week. It also has metrics for today. Transparency for the win!</p> <p><strong>Preview Mode Text</strong></p> <p>When you're previewing your blog posts, you'll get text at the top of the page that clearly shows you're in preview mode.</p> <p><strong>Bugfixes</strong></p> <p>We've had some bugfixes too:</p> <ul> <li>The "poses a problem" message has been dropped from all pages</li> <li>Google Analytics won't run for Pingdom requests (don't want to artificially inflate numbers)</li> <li>Links in overlay windows will now be properly styled</li> <li>Internal documentation fixes</li> <li>Internal code parameter improvements</li> </ul> <p>Yeah, it's a short list. But the Status page is pretty sweet, I think.</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Tue, 24 May 2011 23:00:00 GMT Release Notes: to (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>If you've read my <a href="/blog/rfludwick/2011/05/17/apc-issues-caused-downtime" target="_blank" title="APC Issues Caused Downtime">most recent blog post</a>, you'll know that I was putzing around with getting APC (a bytecode cache for PHP) running on the server. Well, here's some release notes to whet your appetite and get into the whole APC thing a bit more.</p> <p><strong>Liveblogging Support</strong></p> <p>With E3 2011 right around the corner and four of us here at OMGN attending, we're going to need to be able to give you press events quickly. Enter Liveblogging! Similar to what <a href="" target="_blank" title="Engadget">Engadget</a> does, when we're Liveblogging you'll be able to set your article refresh rate at intervals of 15, 30, 45 or 60 seconds (or disable the refresh completely).</p> <p>We're definitely bringing you Microsoft's press conference in this manner. We'll let you know if we'll have others.</p> <p><strong>APC</strong></p> <p>Despite the problems we were having earlier in the week in getting APC running, we're on APC now! We've discovered that APC does not work well on a server environment like ours - multiple websites on a single server. However, we've enabled it only for OMGN's (minus the archive domain). This means OMGN will see even more enhanced speed under normal and increased loads!</p> <p><strong>Memcached Split</strong></p> <p>We were originally running Memcached sessions and database on the same Memcached instance. We realized if we needed to clear the database Memcached data to allow for new values (such as Liveblogging) that we'd wipe out user sessions too. This has been corrected with a second Memcached instance being started.</p> <p><strong>Google News Fix</strong></p> <p>Our <a href="/site-map/xml" target="_blank" title="OMGN: Site Map: XML">XML site map</a> originally had Google News data in it in the non-www domain of the site. This is not the domain that we are listed on with Google News. This has been fixed.<strong></strong></p> <p>That's it for the site release wrap! But... Something's coming..<strong>.</strong></p> <p><strong>Memory Upgrade Coming</strong></p> <p>This is something I figured I'd alert people to right now, as opposed to the site being inaccessible when it actually happens. The server OMGN resides on will be getting a nice fat memory upgrade sometime in the near future, before E3 2011. I'm not 100% sure of the timing of it, but it should be soon. We may make an official announcement here on the site before it happens, but I'm not sure there either. But the memory upgrade is coming, to help us cope with the increased resident memory usage with the likes of Memcached and APC. We're also making sure we've got as much muscle as we can get for E3 2011, within reason.<strong><br /></strong></p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Wed, 18 May 2011 23:00:00 GMT Issues Caused (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>Some of you may have noticed that OMGN (and other websites on the <a href="" target="_blank" title="DarqFlare Enterprises">DarqFlare Enterprises</a> server) had some downtime overnight last night and this morning. It would have been from about midnight Pacific time to 9am Pacific time. There was some intermittent access on the site during that time frame, but it was definitely intermittent.</p> <p>We've been making performance upgrades to the server over the last couple months. Last night we got APC (for PHP) running to help cache bytecode. This would allow backend execution to operate quicker. Unfortunately, we had an issue that I wasn't alerted to until when I woke up in the morning.</p> <p>Eventually after running for awhile, APC was throwing errors that there wasn't enough memory in the pool to allocate to a new script that wasn't cached. This is related to APC fragmentation, from what I've researched online. I disabled APC and did some searching and found that enabling MMAP may fix the problem. I did so and also decided to increase the shared memory available to APC because 32MB (the default) was a little bit low.</p> <p>The memory allocation errors stopped at this point. I'm fairly certain it was the MMAP change that fixed this. Unfortunately, that didn't correct the APC situation for us. After running for awhile again, instead of throwing memory allocation errors, Apache would just stop responding to any new requests. I tried playing around with a few settings (such as time-to-live and the memory size) to no avail - after awhile, Apache would start to hang.</p> <p>Unfortunately, APC is currently disabled on the server. If anybody has any idea what may cause the Apache hanging issue (and how to fix it) please let me know. We'd like to get APC running as soon as possible.</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Mon, 16 May 2011 23:00:00 GMT Release Notes: to (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>It's that time again - time for an update on OMGN's code releases!</p> <p><strong>Memcached-Enabled Sessions &amp; Database Queries</strong></p> <p>This one's nice. It's another performance enhancement like the <a href="/blog/rfludwick/2011/05/01/omgn-release-notes-4-2-6-1-to-4-3-0" target="_blank" title="OMGN Release Notes: to 4.3.0">round of enhancements we made leading up to 4.3.0</a>. Instead of being image optimization and other things to allow your browser to download things quicker, it's on the server-side. Basically we've enabled an in-memory session management system so that our server doesn't have to repeatedly go to the filesystem to track your login on the site.</p> <p>Additionally, we've enabled this system for specific database tables and queries. We have several database tables, as nearly every other database-driven application does, that are small reference tables with data that rarely changes. By caching this data in memcached, we get a performance boost and also alleviate our database's load.</p> <p>We've been planning on adding optimization such as this to OMGN for some time, but today was the final catalyst to prompt us to get this done. We usually do well on traffic to articles when they publish, be it <a href="" target="_blank" title="Google News">Google News</a>, <a href="" target="_blank" title="N4G">N4G</a> or other common link sources. However, our article <a href="/news/2011/05/15/rumored-nintendo-project-cafe-leaked-game-list" target="_blank" title="Rumored: Nintendo's Project Cafe's Leaked Game List">Rumored: Nintendo's Project Cafe's Leaked Game List</a> got linked over at 4chan and Stumbleupon, which caused a very large spike in website traffic for a couple hours. The server didn't crash, although it may have been slow at the time. Implementing memcached should help server performance stay high during traffic spikes such as today's, as well as helping with general website browsing.</p> <p><strong>Automatic OMGN Local "Linkification"</strong></p> <p>In our <a href="/feature/2011/05/09/star-wars-the-old-republic-preview" target="_blank" title="Star Wars: The Old Republic">Star Wars: The Old Republic preview</a>, Ed Kaczynski hopped in the comments to link to his article since he had a differing viewpoint. While we don't allow HTML in our comments and user messages, OMGN links could be passed back and forth. Thus we decided to automatically "linkify" any of those links local to OMGN. Just like in the aforementioned article.</p> <p><strong>Redirect URLs Capped At 5 Characters</strong></p> <p>We have a local redirection service here on the site. You may have seen it used on Twitter. The URLs start with Some of the links we've generated had longer URLs than you'd expect to see on redirection services. We shortened this cap to 5 characters, so we can get more into our Twitter messages.</p> <p><strong>Display Improvements</strong></p> <p>We've made various display improvements to the site. Added padding where needed, changed some text alignment, etc. You likely won't notice most of these, but if you do, we hope they make the site look better for you.</p> <p><strong>Bugfixes &amp; Misc.<br /></strong></p> <p>Again, we've had our share of bugfixes, including:<strong></strong></p> <ul> <li>Full site map to include Admin and Moderator content for admins and moderators when logged in</li> <li>Mobile search wasn't working</li> <li>Admin and Moderator forum content could be returned in the list on non-admin or moderator logins (but not viewable once the link was clicked)</li> <li>The reviews list has been fixed to include the pagination links again</li> <li>A few more improper URL extensions are now supported</li> <li>Google News data will not be included in sitemap XML data for any other domain than the main domain</li> <li>Fix for previewing an article</li> </ul> <p>Hope these improvements help you to enjoy your OMGN browsing experience!</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Sat, 14 May 2011 23:00:00 GMT Release Notes: to (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>It's been awhile since I had a blog post regarding an OMGN site release. There've been several since <a href="/blog/rfludwick/2011/01/30/omgn-release-notes-4-2-6" target="_blank" title="OMGN Release Notes: 4.2.6">4.2.6</a>, but they didn't really amount to much on the user end so I didn't bother to post release notes. But with version 4.3.0 going out today (yes, that's a minor version increase, not a micro!) I figured I should get everybody up to speed.</p> <p>Note that everything I'm listing here has been released since 4.2.6. I'm not going to break it down to what released in,, etc. You just get it all in one big pile!</p> <p><strong>Performance Enhancements</strong></p> <p>We've released a bunch of different website performance enhancements over the last 3 months. Most of them have been more recent, however. These performance enhancements are all over the map to make the website load faster and operate better. Here's the key points:</p> <ul> <li><em>Minified Javascript and CSS</em> - These files have been compacted using industry-standard compressors that will cause their file sizes to be smaller, thus allowing you to download them quicker.</li> <li><em>Better browser caching</em> - Assuming your browser properly follows caching rules, we've added caching data for all static file types that we serve on the site. This will cause your browser to keep any local versions in place if you've downloaded the files recently, saving you the time of going out and getting the same content again. Note: you may want to force a refresh of OMGN if the display isn't quite right - browser caching is the reason why!</li> <li><em>CSS Sprites</em> - We've bundled together all of the smaller images on the site into a single sprite image that CSS manipulates to show you just the part of it that should appear at that part of the site. Our sharing icons in the header, for example, are now sprites. This means you only download one image from our server and then show part of it where need be. It's one bigger image, but you'll save quite a few requests to the server.</li> <li><em>Small Javascript files to inline</em> - We've typically put nearly all reusable Javascript into their own files, loaded on demand where need be. Some of these files had very small content inside, so we've gone ahead and put their contents into the HTML itself. This means each page load that uses the Javascripts converted will be slightly bigger instead of allowing you to use one cached smaller file, but this means you'll also be sending fewer requests to the server.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Smilies Support in Forum</strong></p> <p>Finally! We now have a Smilies button in the Forum, it's right next to the image button. You can use this to post Smilies! Just note that textual smilies like :) won't be automatically converted. Use the button!</p> <p><strong>Admin Billing Module &amp; *Revenue Share For Blogging*<br /></strong></p> <p>This module allows us (me, really) to properly upload revenue information for our ads, then calculates what all of the writers and copy editors are due for their work for the month. Payments will come quicker. Also...</p> <p>It has support for our new <a href="/announcement/2011/05/02/get-paid-to-blog" target="_blank" title="Get Paid To Blog!">payments for blogging</a>! Make sure to read up about our blogging payments.<strong></strong></p> <p><strong>"Malformed" URL Support</strong></p> <p>URLs on OMGN don't have file extensions. You may have noticed this. They also don't have trailing slashes indicating directories. This is by design for many reasons. However, as a result of this design, one could not put a trailing slash on a valid URL and expect to get to the proper page. We've added special handling for scenarios like these, which should allow for fewer errors and headaches. Go ahead and try it by clicking <a href="/blog/rfludwick/2011/05/01/omgn-release-notes-4-2-6-1-to-4-3-0/index.html" target="_blank" title="OMGN Release Notes: to 4.3.0">this link</a>. It'll reload this post, but if you look at the target URL, it has a trailing slash on it. It even has an index.html on there!</p> <p><strong>UTF-8</strong></p> <p>We've been slowly converting all of the content on OMGN to use the UTF-8 character set. If you don't know what character sets are, then you don't really need to worry. But if you care, now you know! We're UTF-8 across the board now on the site.</p> <p><strong>Code Documentation and Inspections</strong></p> <p>I use a wonderful tool called <a href="" target="_blank" title="PhpStorm">PhpStorm</a> for my OMGN coding. It has support for inspections and code documentation. While this doesn't really impact OMGN users at all, it speeds up my development time and also helps me catch errors before they go out Live. I spent a significant amount of time adding a lot of code documentation and resolving inspections issues. There may be some small, marginal performance increases on the site as a result. However, the aim of all this work is so I can develop faster and more accurately. Not that I wasn't fast and accurate before... Anyway, thought you might be interested in this tidbit. Working with that system has given me plenty of bugs and feature requests to send along to <a href="" target="_blank" title="JetBrains">JetBrains</a> as well, anyway.<strong><br /></strong></p> <p><strong>Bugfixes</strong></p> <p>As always, we've had bugfixes go out from time to time. Since it's been three months since I posted release notes, we've accumulated quite a few, such as:</p> <ul> <li>Switched the User Message alert to an overlay (this was a bugfix because it was an omission when we converted all of the alerts over)</li> <li>A few pagination links weren't being generated properly</li> <li>There was a double-horizontal separator on the site at one point...</li> <li>Any position-based system, such as the Featured Content, wasn't properly recalculating positions in a sequential order</li> <li>Forum thread block/delete when no visible posts remained was busted</li> <li>The search form would record multiple searches when pagination was used</li> <li>Some incorrect error messages were present</li> <li>Deleting blog posts from Admin was broken</li> <li>Some processes weren't properly checking if a blog post was visible before interacting with it</li> <li>Tag links in articles weren't being properly escaped, causing the resulting search page to be unable to process the tag search</li> <li>Mobile wasn't showing the "post edited by" text for the Forum properly</li> </ul> <p>Wow, lots of stuff in the past three months. Hope you enjoy reading OMGN as much as we enjoy writing and working on it!</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Sat, 30 Apr 2011 23:00:00 GMT to (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>Just a quick heads-up. Check out my <a href="" target="_blank" title="Moving to LA">post</a> on my personal non-gaming blog <a href="" target="_blank" title="DarqByte">DarqByte</a>. In this post I explain that I'm moving to Los Angeles! So read it.</p> <p>Just an FYI though as this pertains to OMGN - this move shouldn't adversely impact my work here at OMGN. It may keep me from doing a whole lot around here for a few weeks to a month or so, but I may end up with even more time to work on the site once I'm settles in LA. So in the long run, this may be a good thing for OMGN!</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Sat, 12 Feb 2011 00:00:00 GMT Release Notes: (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>Alrighty folks! We had a pretty big-sized release just now, and here are the details about it. Lots of Javascript upgrades and enhancements.</p> <p><strong>Review score added to RSS</strong></p> <p>Up until now, the score on any review wasn't included in our <a href="" target="_blank" title="OMGN RSS Feed">RSS feed</a>. This has been fixed.</p> <p><strong>"Final Deletion" fix</strong></p> <p>We have an Ajaxy way of deleting content on OMGN. There's a link, you click it, it asks if you really want to, you confirm, then it deletes it and removes the row from the table without reloading the page. Unfortunately, the system didn't deal with the only item in the table being deleted any differently from when there are multiple items in the table. This led to the table header being visible with no items. This has been corrected and will now show an "empty" message.</p> <p><strong>Javascript correctness and documentation fixes</strong></p> <p>We've fixed some documentation problems in our Javascript code. Additionally, we've made some correctness changes, which should hopefully continue to make sure our scripts work across all browsers and operating systems.</p> <p><strong>Sublists added to full and XML site maps</strong></p> <p>We added the ability to list content by a sublist (such as listing games by a particular platform). These sublists weren't available in our <a href="/site-map/full" target="_blank" title="OMGN: Site Map: Full">full</a> and <a href="/site-map/xml" target="_blank" title="OMGN: Site Map: XML">XML</a> site maps. Now they are.</p> <p><strong>Blog post type identifier added</strong></p> <p>You've always been able to specify the type of <a href="/blog/list" target="_blank" title="OMGN: Blogs">blog post</a>, but we were never displaying this on the post when people read it. Fixed!</p> <p><strong>Overlay display upgrade and code consolidation</strong></p> <p>If you haven't noticed yet, we've upgraded our overlay display somewhat (it's still not as pretty as we want it to be) and consolidated some of the code. This should perform and look (slightly) better.</p> <p><strong>Javascript alerts and confirms replaced with overlays</strong></p> <p>Using our refreshed overlay system, we've replaced all Javascript alerts and confirms with overlays. This makes website consistency and continuity better, and it also removes the irritations of alerts and confirms holding the browser focus hostage.</p> <p><strong>Javascript onFailure fixes</strong></p> <p>We've corrected a few issues with error handling in Ajax functions.</p> <p><strong>Javascript Ajax processing and fades</strong></p> <p>We've had a decent number of Ajax operations on the site but there was never any indication that an Ajax request was processing. No more! We've added a nice processing image that will hang around with your mouse during Ajax processing, and we've setup fade transitions for the "activating item" to show what was performed.</p> <p><strong>Ability to search owned yet invisible items</strong></p> <p>Recently we opened up our site search so that admins and moderators could view blocked or invisible content in search results. We've now opened this up so that users will get results for their own invisible content. So if you have a blog post not yet published and you perform a search that matches your post, it will appear in your search results (but not any other user, save for admins and moderators).</p> <p><strong>Switched appropriate Forum functions to Ajax</strong></p> <p>We have several functions in the <a href="/forum" target="_blank" title="OMGN: Forum">Forum</a> that were one-click links to perform a specific action - blocking a post, deleting a post, etc. We've converted all of these to Ajax so there will no longer be a page reload necessary.</p> <p><strong>Fixed authentication message mismatches</strong></p> <p>Our system checks authentication on every page load to ensure the user has the access rights to view whatever it is they are requesting to view. Some pages had an inconsistency with the check being performed and the error message that would be returned. This has been corrected.</p> <p>So lots of things in this release folks! I nearly made it OMGN 4.3, but not quite. We'll have 4.3 in the future though, as we're starting to accumulate quite a lot of changes and enhancements from when 4.2 was released. We're hoping to get comment edit/block/deletes going soon, just like Forum posts. Enjoy!</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Sun, 30 Jan 2011 00:00:00 GMT En-Route! (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>Despite <a href="/news/2011/01/17/target-welches-on-40-ps3" target="_blank" title="Target Welches on $40 PS3">Target not honoring the $40 PS3 price glitch</a>, a PS3 shall indeed be arriving at my house in the near future! I know, it's somewhat of a tragedy that I don't already have one. I mean, what kind of a gamer do I purport to be without owning a PS3? It's a money thing, really. I want a PS3 for the exclusives, such as Heavy Rain.</p> <p>That's all in the past though. Soon I shall be swapping out my Blu-Ray player for a PS3! And now I'll have an extra Blu-Ray player with no HDTV to connect it to... But I've already thought of a potential solution for that - a new HDTV! Haha...</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Sat, 22 Jan 2011 00:00:00 GMT Release Notes: (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>It's nice having some time to come back around to getting some developmental work done on OMGN. Why wait? Here's what just let loose!</p> <p><strong>Jump to Comments</strong></p> <p>We've added a new link on articles and blog posts that'll take you straight to the comments. So if you're one of the people commenting on our <a href="/news/2011/01/17/target-welches-on-40-ps3" target="_blank" title="Target Welches on $40 PS3">Target Welches on $40 PS3</a> or <a href="/feature/2011/01/19/ps3-the-root-of-the-problem" target="_blank" title="PS3: The Root of the Problem">PS3: The Root of the Problem</a> articles, you can jump to the comments to quickly see responses.</p> <p><strong>Increased Forum Signature Size</strong></p> <p>We've increased the <a href="/forum" target="_blank" title="Forum">Forum</a> signature size to 600 characters, up from 400. Hurray!</p> <p><strong>Ask For Registration</strong></p> <p>What is this? You'll eventually see it. Almost guaranteed. It's a secret until then though!</p> <p><strong>Blog Enabling System</strong></p> <p>Occasionally we get some users that sign up for the site and immediately post an advertising blog post. The most effective way for us to combat that is to have some sort of moderation on blogs. Rather than moderate each and every blog post, we decided to implement a blog enabling system. All new users start without the ability to blog. However when a new user adds a blog post, we'll be made aware of it and can verify it. When we do verify it, if it looks good then we'll enable blogging for that user. At that point, the user and make their posts visible.</p> <p><strong>Forum Post Delay</strong></p> <p>We've implemented a feature found on many forums online - a forced delay between posts. You'll have to wait 15 seconds between posts on the Forum. This is mostly just to help keep double postings from happening, but it's also a small-scale way to help combat spam.</p> <p><strong>Inaccessible Content Dropped From Aggregates</strong></p> <p>We had a few straggler aggregation functions on the site that still allowed inaccessible (blocked, deleted, not-yet-visible) content to appear in their aggregations. Things like counts of blog posts, the most recent Forum post, etc. This has been corrected.</p> <p><strong>Commenting, Bugfixes &amp; More</strong></p> <p>We've also pushed out a few display and internal commenting bugfixes. We also made some administrative functionality changes to put things in their proper places and to make things more accessible even to us admins.</p> <p>That's about it for this go-round. Have a good one!</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Fri, 21 Jan 2011 00:00:00 GMT Release Notes: (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>It's been awhile since we've had any releases here at OMGN. We've been focusing mostly on content generation and actual operations, as opposed to website development. Today I decided to get back into the swing of things in terms of developing for the site.</p> <p><strong>Additional List Abilities</strong></p> <p>You've always been able to view a list of articles by type (News, etc) as well as games and resources. We've finally added the ability to view lists while filtering by a specific data field. The platforms and genres for games are now clickable links, so you can view lists of games by a particular genre (i.e. Shooter) or platform (i.e. Windows). You can also now view resources by category and articles by their subtypes (i.e. Press Releases, a subtype of News).</p> <p><strong>URL Redirect Support</strong></p> <p>We've been using <a href="" target="_blank" title=""></a> for shrinking our URLs for use in places like Twitter. We've deployed the ability to do this locally on OMGN. Expect to see links coming from hereon out. That is, if you didn't find this blog post using one of our new redirect links.</p> <p><strong>Gaming Network Details</strong></p> <p>We've had a few requests for this feature, so here it is! You can now add details for your Xbox Live, PSN, Wii Friend Code and Steam accounts in your user details here on the site. This should make it easier for people to find your accounts on those networks from OMGN.</p> <p><strong>Game-&gt;Game Associations</strong></p> <p>We finally have the ability to associate two games together. This means we can now associate things like <a href="" target="_blank" title="Battlefield: Bad Company 2">Battlefield: Bad Company 2</a> with its <a href="" target="_blank" title="Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam">Vietnam</a> expansion (which we've done). This should make it easier for you to find associated content among the games we have listed here.<strong></strong></p> <p><strong>Time Cap For "Recent" Changes</strong></p> <p>Some of our "recent" lists of content on the site weren't capped going back in time. Something that is over 4 months old could appear in one of those lists. We've capped these lists at 30 days so recent is no longer a misnomer.</p> <p><strong>Go to Latest Post</strong></p> <p>Forum threads now have a link to go to the most recent post. This way you find find the end of the conversation immediately without having to search.<strong></strong></p> <p><strong>Bugfixes</strong></p> <p>As always we've had a few bugfixes around the site. I wouldn't worry about these. Nothing big.<strong><br /></strong></p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Sun, 09 Jan 2011 00:00:00 GMT 0.5.5 (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>A press release just in regarding Planeshift's 0.5.5 release.</p> <hr /> <p><span>It's&nbsp;</span><span>C</span><span>h</span><span>r</span><span>i</span><span>s</span><span>t</span><span>m</span><span>a</span><span><span>s</span>, and</span>&nbsp;we are very honored to send you our best gift...&nbsp;<span>a&nbsp;</span><span>new PlaneShift release!!&nbsp;</span>We just released&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">PlaneShift 0.5.5</a>&nbsp;which contains a lot of nice features. This milestone brings us very close to 0.6, our next major release.&nbsp;</p> <p>Here is a list of the changes:</p> <p><strong>New features:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Characters turn transparent while sneaking to simulate the fact they are hidden. We are testing this new option, and we plan to use it also for spells or other situations</li> <li>Added "pterosaur services" for travelling between cities. There is one beastmaster in each major town which rents pterosaurs for travel</li> <li>Made shields functional. They are now part of the combat calculation, and allow real blocking of hits</li> <li>Improved the way NPCs chase an opponent by using generated paths (navmeshes) for navigation. This is a major improvement to combat and allows them to walk around obstacles</li> <li>Weather has been known to be cause of crashes on certain hardware, mainly intel chips and to slow down gameplay. It's now possible to disable weather effects from pslaunch! Be sure to enable it and test if it works for you before giving up on it!</li> <li>Added improved snow effect. Snow now shows on ground! Start humming a Christmas song :)</li> <li>Added the new Klyros city Amdeneir! It's actually one quarter of the city, which is located to the "left" of hydlaa, for now reacheable only by pterosaur travel</li> <li>Added animations for attacking with bows on all characters</li> <li>Added a new progress bar for crafting</li> </ul> <p><strong>Fixes and updates:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Changed item dropping and allowed arbitary rotations in all directions. This will allow better customization of guildhouses and events! To rotate, you have to hold the right mouse button and drag the mouse, or do the same by pressing shift</li> <li>Removed the gossip channel from the Main tab in the chat window. The Main tab is supposed to be In Character and the gossip channel was polluting too much the text. Be sure to clear your old settings, or the gossip will stay there</li> <li>Fixed rain</li> <li>The view window of an armor now shows its stats</li> <li>The view window of containers now shows the weight</li> <li>Ability to disable active magic window notification</li> <li>Removed need to specify a resource for dig/harvest/fish</li> <li>There is a new auto-refusal option for marriage proposals in options</li> <li>Failing to cast a spell may have a negative effect now</li> <li>Support for automatic execution of commands upon logging in</li> <li>Configurable tab completion. You can now speficy a set of additional words to be used in the autocompletion in the chat window</li> <li>Improved the way the server handles randomized and creative items (saving memory)</li> <li>Alliance channel may be added to main now as well</li> <li>Sort item categories by name in merchant/storage windows</li> <li>Added few new idle animations to stonebreaker female and ynnwn female</li> </ul><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Wed, 22 Dec 2010 00:00:00 GMT Press (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>Picaroon's official press release went out for its beta. I'm currently checking the game for beta impressions.</p> <hr /> <p>Cambridge, England - Nice Technology proudly announced that their newfree-to-play massively-multiplayer real-time strategy game, Picaroon, hasentered beta after just a year's worth of development by their small six-manCambridge-based team. Having spent the summer in alpha, all the plannedmajor features for a Winter 2010 release have been completed alongside someadditional-unscheduled-goodies.</p> <p>Picaroon is a futuristic pirates game where empires battle across thehigh-seas for control of the remaining land that pokes above a mercilessocean. Sessions last from a week to a few months depending on configurationand each session can support hundreds of players. Picaroon has a uniqueend-game phase where players are awarded otherwise unobtainable units suchas submarines and super-ships depending on who has tributed the mostresources to the world's leaders.</p> <p>Game-play has been enhanced with specials. These cards give players extraoffensive and defensive powers including the abilities to make volcanoeserupt, build ships at quadruple construction speeds and cause nuclearexplosions. Specials can be purchased in-game using gold raised by taxingsettlers. In-game packs come in various flavours and have a random selectionof specials. Players can also buy themed packs of specials using NiceTechnology's secure micro-transaction system to provide more control over apack's contents - the weekend away pack, for example, contains specials toenhance protection and defence of several islands for 72 hours.</p> <p>Picaroon's beta affords Nice Technology the opportunity to gather feedbackfrom even more players as the game is refined prior to release. Beta keyswill be available on their blog at and alsogiven to their alpha group for distribution to friends and to those thatsigned up to be part of the beta over the summer. Picaroon is a small 50MBdownload and is compatible with any PC running XP, Vista or Windows 7 thathas a half-reasonable graphics card and a half a GB of RAM.</p> <p>--------------------------------------------------------------------------</p> <p>ABOUT: Nice Technology develops and self publishes multiplayer online gamesand virtual worlds using its proprietary technology, AliceServer. Thedevelopment teams first game Time of Defiance was released to the publicback in the summer of 2002. Since then Nice Technology has produced achildren's game for the BBC based on a popular TV show called Tronji. Thestudio is currently working on a new online RTS game called Picaroon whichis due for release Winter 2010.</p> <p>Links:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" title="Corporate Website">Corporate website</a><br /><a href="" target="_blank" title="Picaroon">Picaroon</a><br /><a href="" target="_blank" title="Blog">Blog</a><br /><a href="" target="_blank" title="Tronji World">Tronji World</a><br /><a href="" target="_blank" title="Time of Defiance">Time of Defiance</a></p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Mon, 18 Oct 2010 23:00:00 GMT Information: September 16th - (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>From September 16th at about 10:15pm Pacific Time through September 17th at about 12:45am, OMGN and all websites hosted on the DarqFlare Enterprises server in Las Vegas, NV were inaccessible. I apologize for taking so long to post about what happened, I meant to within a couple days.</p> <p>Occasionally we'll perform operating system and software upgrades on our server. This usually doesn't end up with any issues for all of the websites hosted on the DFE server, aside from a couple minutes of downtime during required reboots, such as when we install a new kernel.</p> <p>Our server is a custom-built server running Linux (Gentoo, specifically). We've had remarkably excellent uptime until this incident. We were performing software upgrades on the server that evening and when we had it reboot, it never came back up.</p> <p>I was going to go to bed on it and fiddle with it in the morning, but it was eating away at me and I couldn't sleep. So at the bright hour of 11:00pm, I swapped out my pajamas for clothes and drove off to the datacenter where the server is housed. Yeah, see, we don't host the server in the confines of a residential property such as my own. It's co-located here in Las Vegas with great network and power backups.</p> <p>I arrived and got into the facility and hooked up a crash cart (monitor, keyboard and mouse) to the server to find that the kernel wasn't seeing the hard drives in the system. Upon reboot, the system would load the kernel and it would start detecting devices, however it wouldn't be able to see the hard drives to build the RAID 1 array and it would cease processing.</p> <p>The interesting thing here to me was that it was able to load the kernel and filesystem, which meant the filesystem wasn't damaged. That was one of my worries, as I had to update Grub, the bootloader we've chosen to use to load our different kernel versions. So I got to strike that one off the list.</p> <p>My next guess was that the new kernel we installed had issues and wasn't configured properly. Well, the server has a 0-second wait on selecting the kernel to load; this is because if we're rebooting the server, the shorter the downtime the better. So after a couple tries I managed to get it to load the previous kernel version we were running. No dice, the same issue arose.</p> <p>After fiddling around a bit and even going back one more kernel version, it still wasn't detecting the hard drives. I had unfortunately forgotten to bring my disc pack with me so I carted myself off home to grab my Gentoo LiveCD so I could load an environment from disc to see if it could detect the hard drives.</p> <p>Round trip completed, I got back to the facility and loaded up the disc. The kernel on disc saw the hard drives and was able to assemble the RAID 1 array with no issues at all. I was able to mount the drives properly and start messing around in there. Unfortunately, going between different kernel versions I was unable to get any progress. It was getting late and I had to work at 7 in the morning. I do have a day job outside of OMGN, much to my chagrin; I'd much rather work on this site for a living.</p> <p>That day at work I asked if one of my sysadmins would be so kind to lend me some of his lunch hour to pore over the system to find the issue. I'm pretty decent with Linux these days but this was confounding me. He agreed and at about 11:30 we hopped over to the datacenter together to assess the issue.</p> <p>I gave him a rundown of what was going on for awhile and we tried rebuilding udev because that was his best guess as well. Unfortunately, udev wasn't building properly. It was complaining about using a 64-bit compiler on a 32-bit system. It seems I nabbed the wrong Gentoo LiveCD from my house. Thankfully, my sysadmin friend was able to burn off a 32-bit LiveCD.</p> <p>We loaded it up and recompiled udev, then noticed something that I wish I'd have noticed the first time I was doing these software upgrades. The install complained about 3 Linux kernel flags being set that shouldn't be. The flags were support for older, legacy filesystems. We noted them down and went and recompiled the kernel without those flags, then recompiled udev again. Rebooted the machine with the hopes that it would come up again.</p> <p>And it did.</p> <p>After that, it was just a little bit of housekeeping and the DFE server was back up again. So here's a lesson for you folks: pay very, very close attention to any output messages from operating system and software installations in Linux. I didn't see those messages the first time and it cost DFE about 14 1/2 hours of downtime.</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Sat, 02 Oct 2010 23:00:00 GMT Release Notes: (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>It's been nearly a month since OMGN's last release. What the hell have I been working on then?!</p> <p><strong>Mobile Version</strong></p> <p>You read that right, folks. Finally, after long last, the mobile version of OMGN has launched to the public. You can now view OMGN on your smartphone in a format designed for your small screen! Go ahead, give it a shot. And please, if you find any issues, please let us know! We don't have every device available to test. You'll have access to nearly everything OMGN offers via mobile, save for anything Flash-based like the avatar uploader.</p> <p>The mobile version was a bit of a slog for awhile, but it's such a vast addition, coupled with other additions we've made since 4.1.0, we decided to up our version to 4.2.0.</p> <p><strong>Twitter Auto-Follow</strong></p> <p>We have a <a href="" target="_blank" title="OMGN on Twitter">Twitter account</a>, didn't you know? Well, maybe now you do. And now you'll also know that our Twitter account is setup to go find people talking about video games! Yeah, it's totally a marketing ploy, but we thought you'd be interested just the same.</p> <p><strong>Writer-Centric Compare Differences</strong></p> <p>Remember that compare differences tool we rolled out for use on blogs, and we said that it came from our administration section? Well our own writers couldn't access this tool after their articles hit a certain stage in editing. In order to help our writers grow, we've built out a slimmed down version of this tool for them to use after their articles have published. Striving to bring you higher quality content, all the time.</p> <p><strong>Proper Object Hiding Under Overlays</strong></p> <p>Just in case a page is display a Flash element, it will now properly hide when an overlay appears.</p> <p><strong>Meebo Bar Disabled for Preview Pages</strong></p> <p>For any page on the site that is a preview page, such as blog post previews, the Meebo Bar won't show. Because we don't want you sharing things that aren't actually visible yet!</p> <p><strong>Bugfixes, Etc.</strong></p> <p>As always, we've had a round of bugfixes, text fixes and "correctness" done on some of our code.</p> <p>We hope you enjoy the new mobile version of the site. Truth be told, part of me wanted to build it so I could check the OMGN <a href="/forum" target="_blank" title="OMGN: Forum">Forum</a> while I'm on the go. Like I said, pretty much all of OMGN is now accessible via mobile!</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Mon, 27 Sep 2010 23:00:00 GMT Release Notes: (Robert F. Ludwick) Post<p>It's been nearly a month since we had a major enough release to let all of you know about it. This one's got plenty of goodies and I hope you'll like some of the new features.</p> <p><strong>HTML Emails</strong></p> <p>We've been sending email in plaintext here at OMGN for quite some time, even back to our old site design, which is now the <a href="" target="_blank" title="OMGN Archive">OMGN Archive</a>. Today marks the first day that OMGN will be sending out HTML emails!</p> <p>We've had this planned for awhile now but we've finally implemented it. It's not terribly robust right now as we aren't filling out our emails with tons of extra links and content from the site. But the ability to send HTML emails allows us to prep for the future, with things like weekly content digests that we have planned. However the HTML emails were also prep for our biggest offering this release for you, our readers, which is...</p> <p><strong>Subscriptions</strong></p> <p>Many forums allow you to subscribe to updates on a particular thread. This is useful if you're planning on keeping up with a conversation but you don't want to have to login to that site every few minutes to keep things going. Thus, subscriptions are very useful because you'll be emailed when there's an update to that thread.</p> <p>We now have this capability here at OMGN. The following four subscriptions are available:</p> <ol> <li><em>Article Comments</em> - If you subscribe to an article's comments, anytime that particular article is commented on, you'll be notified.</li> <li><em>Blog Post Comments</em> - The same deal here as with articles.</li> <li><em>Forum</em> - Anytime a particular forum you're subscribed to has a new thread created, you'll be notified.</li> <li><em>Forum Thread</em> - Anytime an existing forum thread is updated that you're subscribed to, well... You get the idea.</li> </ol> <p>We hope you enjoy this new feature of the site, we know we're excited to start using it ourselves to help track the conversations our community is having. But is there something else you might want to get email alerts about?</p> <p><strong>Email on Message &amp; User Preferences</strong></p> <p>Our user messaging system has been here for a little while now, since we introduced the <a href="/forum" target="_blank" title="OMGN: Forum">Forum</a>. While you're on the site you'll get an alert if you have a new message, but you've got to visit the site to figure this out. As I'm sure you're expecting me to say, we now offer email alerts for when you are messaged, much like many other community-based systems.</p> <p>Coupled with this release is the beginning of a new <a href="/user/edit-preferences" target="_blank" title="OMGN: User: Edit Preferences">User Preferences</a> system, which you can access via your <a href="/user/account" target="_blank" title="OMGN: User: Account">User Account</a>. Currently there is only one option - email on message. By default everybody will start getting emails that they have messages, but if you want to turn this notification off you can in your preferences.</p> <p><strong>Meebo Bar</strong></p> <p>When we relaunched OMGN we built a set of sharing tools into our content pages - articles, games and resources. When we deployed blogs we also added these tools there. However this was limited and required quite a bit of maintenance to keep going. And the interface wasn't elegant.</p> <p>Well, you won't see those tools anymore, and I'm sure by now you've also noticed the new <a href="" target="_blank" title="Meebo Bar">Meebo Bar</a> at the bottom of the site. We're really excited that we are able to bring you the Meebo Bar for use here at OMGN. It allows you to share any page you're currently on, including any images (if sized large enough) and links appearing on that page. You can also chat within <a href="" target="_blank" title="Meebo">Meebo</a> while using OMGN, which means you can sign in to any of your IM accounts through Meebo to chat while browsing our content and interacting with the community here.</p> <p>Never used Meebo before? I highly recommend for you to go check them out. When I'm on IM networks I'm always using Meebo. It's just too good of an interface to not use, especially since it's web-based (or an app for your iPhone, for example). I use it while working on OMGN, for example.</p> <p><strong>Printable Pages</strong></p> <p>On our archive site we had a link you could click on articles that would open up a window so you could print the article in a printer-friendly format. Well... This system is a bit archaic in this modern age.</p> <p>All you need to do to get a printable version of any page on the site is to simply print it. Cascading Style Sheets, one of the technologies we use here on OMGN and supported by all major browsers, allows us to define what the page should look like when bring printed as opposed to being displayed on a screen. So there you have it! You can print any page on the site, although why you would want to print the <a href="/staff" target="_blank" title="OMGN: Staff">Staff</a> page is beyond us... Unless it's going to your OMGN shrine, that is.</p> <p><strong>Bottom Forum Reply Link</strong></p> <p>This is just something we realized we needed - a link on the bottom of a forum thread to allow you to reply. We already had a reply link in the top-right panel of links when reading a thread, but when you get to the bottom of a thread, you'll want to reply. So why scroll all the way up to reply?</p> <p><strong>IFrame Removal</strong></p> <p>Gone is the DarqFlare Network IFrame at the head of the site. It has been serving the sites in the DFNet well for quite some time but we wanted to expand these links in our website footer and free up even that smidget of space at the top for OMGN itself. So as you can see, the IFrame is gone and our footer has been expanded.</p> <p><strong>Tabindexes Added</strong></p> <p>At least for the user side of the site, not admin. We've added tabindexes to all of our forms so you don't have to worry about tabbing to a link when you're writing a blog post or filling our <a href="/user/register" target="_blank" title="OMGN: User: Register">Registration</a> form. Unfortunately the tabbing isn't working 100% correctly with any of our rich text editors, such as the aforementioned blog post add and edit pages. You can tab out of one of the editors just fine, but tabbing in from a surruonding field isn't working correctly. We're still looking for a fix. We may have to chalk it up to a browser limitation, unfortunately.</p> <p><strong>Admin Panel</strong></p> <p>Not that this concerns the common reader much, but we've enhanced our own internal admin panel for editors (and up) to give us a snapshot of pending content to publish. Hopefully this makes it easier for us to get mroe content to you more quickly. It's just a nice tool I felt like mentioning. It also gives me a quick view on recent interactions with OMGN so I don't have to delve as deeply anymore.</p> <p><strong>Specific Screenshot Linking</strong></p> <p>Anytime we've been linking to screenshots in our articles, we've only been able to link to the first screenshot. Additionally, we haven't had an easy time in using a different "medium"-sized screenshot other than the first one to do the linking. Well using a small enhancement to the user-side of the site and a couple tools on the administrative end, we can now link to a specific screenshot from within the article, not just starting at the first one. We can also more easily select a different screenshot to display in the article too (such as the one that the viewer will start on when clicked?).</p> <p><strong>Various Fixes</strong></p> <p>We've put in various fixes on the site, as always, from Javascript variable declaration correctness to simple text fixes to changing a couple URLs around so they read better semantically. Nothing big to report here, really.</p> <p>Well, we hope you like the new additions (and subtractions) for OMGN we've released today. Go ahead and comment on this post (and subscribe!) or talk about these new features in the Forum (and again, subscribe!) and let us know what you think.</p><p><em>OMGN is not responsible for any blog post content on this site. The blog post author is responsible for all blog post content.</em></p>Thu, 02 Sep 2010 23:00:00 GMT