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I have changed the index page of the file database this evening. The index now provides listings of the latest uploaded files, latest news and latest forum topics for easy viewing. The "Hot Topic" feature is now a little further down the same page.
I have moved the category listing to it's own page for people who use this feature.
Also of note, I have created a proper news archive for the site. The page lists the entire news history of the site, divided into pages of 10 articles each.
Straight from the Bethesda Blog, gstaff brings attention to a Ukrainian progressive rock band who have produced a cover of the Oblivion theme tune by Jeremy Soule. Personally I couldn't help but sit there giggling like a sissy girl through most of it (don't ask why), but check it out by going to their MySpace page. The page is savoury and, for once, does not contain pink text on a black background -- probably a first for MySpaz.
After recommendations from resident member Sativarg the tagging system has had a slight facelift. Each tag now fits under a general category to better show what the tag relates to. You can see the change in the unassigned tags section of any file tag pop-up, or in the tag search.
Links have been added to the tag search on the left navigation of the file database (underneath the advanced search link) and on the advanced search page. The tag search tells you how many confirmed tags there are to search for and allows you to search for files based on their confirmed tags. Simply put, the tag search allows you to do deeper searches into the file database. Looking for a mod that adds English speaking guilds or factions to Oblivion? Pick the "Oblivion", "Guilds/Factions" and "Language - English" tags and click the search button and see what comes up.
This feature becomes more powerful with the more accurate confirmed tags files have, so continue to tag files to better the search results.
Since disabling the viewing of comments from the file page last night the server has no not crashed once, which is telling. Part two of my plan has been to implement a button that you need to click to view the latest file comments. Upon clicking the button it'll take a few seconds to load the latest comments, but after that everything will look as it did before.
Hopefully this will reduce load on the server as not everyone wants to view the latest file comments.
I shall continue to monitor the situation throught the day.
The site server has been crashing quite a lot recently; often going down for half an hour every few hours. I'm constantly monitoring the server to try and find the cause of the problem but it still eludes me. I have turned off the file comment view on file pages for this evening so I can monitor the load under these differing circumstances.
More than likely I will be recoding the comments view to show in a new window, or only load when the user specifically requests to view the latest file comments. While I'm aware I still have some work to do on the file tags, I think the stability of the server should be the number one priority.
Keep tagging those files though! I know some members of the site have been providing suggestions for the system that I'll have to read through soon. LHammond has recommended the staff be able to confirm tags instantly (i.e., avoiding the 3 necessary ratings). I shall probably implement this along with the ability for authors to instantly confirm tags for their files as they, more than anyone, are the ones qualified enough to know the contents of their files for tagging.
Ever since returning from my long bank holiday weekend away on Monday I've had a stinky head cold followed by high temperatures. Confined to my bed for reasons other than being lazy (unlike usual) I've simply been watching films, series, and playing a game that made it's way to my door recently: Two Worlds.
I hadn't heard anything about Two Worlds before a month ago when idle chatter on an IRC room I frequent sparked my interest. Heralded as a cross between Oblivion and the Gothic series, I became interested. Even now I haven't read up on the game, I've simply installed and played it. As far as I know it has had a confusing release, where by it has been out in many European countries for something like a couple of months, and is yet to be released in countries like the US. Seems odd, but I'm not getting involved.
As far as the game goes; it's not Oblivion, and it's not Gothic 3, but I'm certainly finding it enjoyable (it could be the pills I'm popping every 4 hours...).
The game is played in a 3rd person perspective. No first person option available. While this is slightly annoying to begin with you should quickly get used to it. I'm an FPS fan, but it seems fine to me now.
The combat is bland, often revolving around taking four swipes with your sword, jumping back (that's a bound key) to avoid a hit, then repeating. Mobs revolve around meeting one of the following options: 3 - 5 wolves, 3 - 6 bandits or 1 bear. This scales up as you progress (to things like Orcs, Wyverns, and spiders..woo!). So, combat isn't exactly great and definately not unique. Ultimately death comes to you when you meet a hard hitting mob (like the bear) along with 3 - 5 wolves or bandits (or all of them).
Visually the game is appealing, if not slightly in need of more aliasing. While I run the game at x4 AA it still looks pretty jaggy in places which is not helped by the crazy amounts of foliage. More than your run of the mill Oblivion game, anyway. You'll see some great views though, with castles, towers, mountains, trees, rivers, etc. being visible for miles and miles.
The game world is big enough. While nothing ridiculously huge, if it were any bigger I'd probably be put off playing. The usual environments are there; woods, mountains, beaches and deserts.
It's an open-ended game, just like Oblivion; so quests can be done as and when wanted. The quests are your usual run-of-the-mill "go here, do that, come back for a reward" type, but since the levelling system works off conventional XP it seems a little more worth it than it does in Oblivion. Running around in the wilderness does have its uses, mainly in finding rare alchemy ingredients, but there's a real lack of deep, entertaining or challenging dungeons available. The developers obviously aren't great fans of dungeons. Outsides good, insides bad.
Alchemy actually has a use in Two Worlds, allowing you to produce "permanent effect" potions; potions that permanently add to your stats. Coupled with that is a system where-by you can compound the same items into high-level versions of the same item. Ergo if you have two class 1 "Sword of the Light", you can put them together to create a class 2 "Sword of the Light" that will have a higher damage rating, and sometimes extra buffs. It adds a little more depth to the inventory system and helps to ensure you're not constantly at the merchants trying to buy new armour every couple of levels.
There's probably more, but I can't be bothered to ramble any more. I'll put it simply; the game is nothing special, but if you're a lover of open-ended RPGs, or like listening to your own music while rambling through the wilderness then this game is probably for you. I've finally gotten around to listening to that Metallica S&M album I've been putting off for years...
I'm not sure how good the demo is, but give it a go.
The number of confirmed tags in the file database has now hit the 1,000 mark. 1,000 was the number I set before I launched the tag search feature. I will be launching the search, hopefully, tomorrow. I have been away since Thursday on an extended bank holiday, and while the search feature is ready I would like the time to test it a little further.
Thanks to all the people who have been tagging files in the database.
Edit: Unfortunately I only got an hour's sleep last night after developing a nasty temperature and head cold. I am postponing the official launch of the tag search until I am well enough to focus more. To see what I have done thus far, you can visit the current tag search page.
I have changed the rating system in the Image Share section to the same system used in the file database. You now need to provide a comment with your rating, and users can see who has rated images.
Thought I'd chime in on advacements in the site recently. I'm really glad Buddah and LHammonds have been helping out with the site; there are now less dead links and less duff ratings than ever before. As some of the nasty, unnecessary ratings are removed there have been some real movers and shakers in the top 150 files. Amazingly Midas Magic Spells of Aurum was debunked off the top spot. That was until I removed a couple of duff ratings for the file, and then it shot to the top again. Atleast the Unofficial Oblivion Patch had it's glory moment, if only for a short while!
Tagging is progressing steadily. I have coded a simple tagging search but will not be releasing it until more files get tagged. As of writing there are currently only 70 confirmed tags (that is, tags that have 3 or more confirmed agreements). So keep tagging along and I'll release the search soon!
There is also a new image ontop of the top 20 images in the Image Share section of the site. The Image Share section has really taken off, and there are now 1,100 images uploaded and available for viewing. The only thing missing are people to rate the images -- lots of uploaders, not many raters. So if you enjoy seeing some cool Oblivion pics, or are an uploader, then spend some time looking through the database and handing out some ratings!
I have reduced the number of suggestions needed for a tag in order for it be confirmed from five to three. This will increase the number of confirmed tags in the database.
There are nearly 3,000 tagging suggestions in the file database and growing. Keep it up folks, because the more you tag files with accurate descriptions, the better the search results will be once it is released!
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