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Mattcrampy
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Hurrah! It's my second update!

(It's going to get very tiring once I start to enthusiastically announce the fourty-third update.)

I'm getting more familiar with CityDesk, so there's lots of little changes all over the place. The one I'm most unhappy with is the return of the DROD FAQ - it's got lots of info, but it hasn't been converted over properly. It's mainly up to compliment another change, as the FAQ does have a useful question there.

You can finally fix the music in Caravel DROD (by 'fix' I mean 'replace with the Webfoot music'); the What is DROD article has been rewritten (but I ran out of steam, so there's not as many jokes as I would like) and more importanly updated to reflect the fact that the Caravel version has only been available for two years now; everyone's given the credit they deserve; I've started adding my own "wisdom" to the monsters page; and of course the secret page is back. The old one is now a broken link, but there's a new and cunningly hidden one.

On the To Do List:

* Get up a revised DROD FAQ and the Forum FAQ, which is mostly done.
* Reorganise the tips section.
* Segregate the download section to allow easy addition of holds.
* Get the button text off the buttons and banners so I can re-use them (Matt, Clayton, Erik, if you have the blank button/banner images, they'd be very much appreciated)
* Get some more information up about DROD3D, including some sort of interview, maybe.
* Re-organise the navigation
* Buy lots of bags of M&Ms, then put them in a big jar and eat them with an ice-cream scoop.

As you can see, I have a lot to do. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Matt

[Edited by Mattcrampy on 08-27-2003 at 01:37 PM]

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08-27-2003 at 12:45 PM
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trick
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Heh, you updated the "What is DROD ?" page right after i copied a part of it to a "need testers for linux drod" post i did at a linux games forum.

Anyway, I like how the oversized sword is named Beethro. Kinda like Tenchi, if anyone's ever seen that. Hm, i wonder if this will end up the same way ? No need for Beethro!

(Yeah, sorry. I couldn't help it!)

- Gerry

08-27-2003 at 02:16 PM
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Mattcrampy
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Hardi-har-har.

The main reason I rewrote the thing is that I hoped I could do a better job of explaining how the game actually works (which I failed miserably at) and, more importantly, to update the screenshots. Let the word spread throughout the kingdom that the next update will probably see anoher change to this page at least.

Matt

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08-27-2003 at 02:32 PM
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zex20913
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Something new (I think) I've noticed about the site: The buttons don't pop back up after you click them until your mouse leaves. Perhaps that is another thing for the to-do list.

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08-27-2003 at 02:44 PM
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trick
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quote:
Mattcrampy wrote:
Hardi-har-har.

Hey, relax! It's not badly written, it was just that one thing. You're doing fine :)

Um, actually, there is one other thing - You say that DROD is a puzzle game for Windows. Well, by the feedback I've got for build 40 of the Linux version so far, it works perfectly for everyone (so far, at least..), so it's a good chance 1.6 will be released simultaneously for both Windows and Linux. In other words, it's not a puzzle game for Windows anymore, it's a puzzle game for Windows and Linux (and possibly Mac OS X ? What happened to that port ?). The best would probably be to simply remove the "for Windows" part.

Same goes for the Sourceforge project page, by the way.

- Gerry

08-27-2003 at 02:52 PM
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StuartK
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Just wondering if any of the optimised DROD buttons and screenshots I sent to your predecessor made their way to you, and if you want to use them? I don't want to overstep my bounds if you're working on this, but since I've got this stuff already...


- png format buttons for the main page (2.5kB each, could be made smaller if you're happy using pngs)
- gif format buttons for the main page (2kB each, extremely optimised, but still look OK to me)

- screenshots (the current ones are very large, some are 200kB, and suffer from many jpg artifacts, though the files are actually gifs *ponder*)
- Caravel DROD 1.5 screenshots 3 x png screens and 1 x jpg & 4 x png thumbnails
- Webfoot DROD 4 png screenshots & 4 png thumbnails
- Minidrod screenshots 2 x png (I cleaned up the jpg artifacts)
- jpg thumbnails for DROD3D (the old version)

The png thumbnails would be better in jpg format, but the above is what I have at the moment. Again, if .png is out of the question for screenshots, I can send gif versions of any of the above (you're looking at 80kB for a gif screenshot rather than a 40kB png, in general)

Do you want screenshots for the latest version of DROD3D? They wouldn't be able to mirror the current ones, since not all the same levels are available, from what I see. So, you wouldn't be able to do the direct comparison between the evolving versions of DROD thing that was going on before...


If noone has blank buttons, I can russle something up for you, modifying Eriks stuff if you want - it's easy enough to disappear the text with a clone brush, copying sections between the various buttons, and leaving them identical (I assume) to the original source.

And finally, if you've got any other dogsbody type stuff you want doing while you're busy with your cool content creation, I'll be happy to oblige. I'm no professional - just pottering about because I saw some stuff on the website that could be polished a little.
08-27-2003 at 03:04 PM
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Tscott
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quote:
(It's going to get very tiring once I start to enthusiastically announce the fourty-third update.)
Well, the 43rd update is going to be a let down anyway after you give us the answer to Life the Universe and Everything in 42. ;)

BTW, There is one little thing I miss about these updates, though. On the Main Page it used to have a date posted after 'DROD News'. That's useful for the casual reader who doesn't read forums so they'll know when an update occurs without needing to click on the news page everyday. In fact, it might be useful to put a short blurb on the Main Page about what the lastest News update is about (especially when DROD:AE is finally released).

Also, hyperlinks would be good in these news updates too. It's great that you're updating all these things, but then you expect our lazy butts to actually find these updates by ourselves. :P

but, don't mind my ramblings too much, keep up the good work.:) :glasses

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08-27-2003 at 07:04 PM
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Schik
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quote:
Tscott wrote:
BTW, There is one little thing I miss about these updates, though. On the Main Page it used to have a date posted after 'DROD News'. That's useful for the casual reader who doesn't read forums so they'll know when an update occurs without needing to click on the news page everyday. In fact, it might be useful to put a short blurb on the Main Page about what the lastest News update is about (especially when DROD:AE is finally released).

Matt, if you want to do this and make this automatic, let me know - I can write a snippet that will get the date (and title, if you want) of the latest news submission.

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08-28-2003 at 06:28 AM
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Mattcrampy
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Wow, I'm still trying to get used to people caring about what I do.

Buttons: I reckon the buttons can be done better. I'm considering porting over most of the site to using pngs, but I'm aware that some people can't view them. I'm interested to see just how many people here can't view them, and take that as a kind of sample space.

But I'll be doing stuff with the buttons, compressing them and so on, as it's quite frankly unacceptable how long it takes to load all these images. Of course, it might end up not being that bad.

Feel free to help out with graphics, Stuart. I've been doing a bit of fiddling around with it, but I'm not particularly special - introducing artifacts all over the shop, that's me.

Linux DROD: Funny - the one thing I didn't actually touch of the What is DROD page is the one thing that should have been. Apart from the screenshots, of course, which were ancient. Needless to say, I'll be purging that platform dependency one page at a time.

News: considering people might post news at any opportunity, some sort of automated "Latest News" thing would be really handy. I'd have to see how you do it so I can take your job. :D

In short, any assistance anyone would like to give me would be greatly appreciated.

Matt

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08-28-2003 at 01:29 PM
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noman
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Hey, how can i access the secret page?

Couldn't you just place a link an the main site?

->noman

[Edited by noman on 08-28-2003 at 07:44 PM]

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08-28-2003 at 08:43 PM
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Schik
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quote:
noman wrote:
Hey, how can i access the secret page?

Click here to view the secret text



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08-28-2003 at 08:44 PM
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StuartK
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Buttons: I reckon the buttons can be done better. I'm considering porting over most of the site to using pngs, but I'm aware that some people can't view them. I'm interested to see just how many people here can't view them, and take that as a kind of sample space.

But I'll be doing stuff with the buttons, compressing them and so on, as it's quite frankly unacceptable how long it takes to load all these images. Of course, it might end up not being that bad.

Feel free to help out with graphics, Stuart. I've been doing a bit of fiddling around with it, but I'm not particularly special - introducing artifacts all over the shop, that's me.


Shall I just send files to your webmaster email address? There's about 700kB for everything I listed so far, or you can pick from it like a shopping list if you want (I can see some stuff that may not be of use to you any more) or request any conversions or whatever - stuart at knapton dot clara dot co dot uk

Do you have blank buttons yet? I see the fonts to use are in the DROD distribution already...

As to png compatibility, I see a resounding 12 out of 12 votes up till now. Which extrapolates to an amazing 100% of your viewing public, if the science of statistics is to be believed :D It's the linux conversion that's going to bring in all sorts of punters with obscure browsers...


The one area where the pngs are of significant benefit is with the Caravel/Webfoot/etc screenshots (excepting DROD3D, which would be better with jpgs) Elsewhere, for many small screen decorations, gifs should suffice. For the small graphics from my experiments, png benefits appear quite minimal (we're talking 10s and 100s of byte savings) So, there's a cost-reward ratio here - a filesize saving of 10 bytes would take approx. 5 millennia to pay for itself, for the effort required to convert and replace the file ;) Unless the DROD site becomes the ubiquitous homepage for the entire civilized world, or you get a mention on Slashdot... But I'm overcomplicating, so I really ought to move onto the next paragraph, which is more interesting anyway.

One thing that occured to me, was that Eriks art, and the various portraits of DROD denizens would look much, much better, if they were shown in their true full colour glory :glasses Since the files are gifs at the moment, they do look rather grainy. If the original artwork were available, it would be cool to get some new scans, carefully optimised jpgs, in place of the gifs. 256 colour artwork is so... 1980s.


That wall background is made of 3 gifs at the moment. Is there some html trickery that could mean the same image could be reused in each of the frames, and the pattern still line up? That would also shave the loading time. Dispensing with frames would make it easier, yet more complicated at the same time...
08-28-2003 at 09:28 PM
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Matt,
Click here to view the secret text


:)
08-28-2003 at 10:49 PM
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StuartK
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And I quote:

---
Hi. This is the qmail-send program at a.mx.planet-service.fr.
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.

<webmaster@drod.net>:
Sorry, no mailbox here by that name. vpopmail (#5.1.1)
---

The above is the address on the contacts page.

I would email the webmaster to point this out, but...

:D

[Edited by StuartK on 08-29-2003 at 01:52 AM]
08-29-2003 at 02:49 AM
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Mattcrampy
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Webmaster address: Funny, I'm getting spam for the first time - I haven't used the regular address anywhere on the site. Try mtc46@uow.edu.au instead. I'll get it just the same.

Buttons: No blank buttons yet, I haven't tried. I'll have to work out what I'm going to call the new sections, so I haven't had much of an impetus. But feel free to do what you want. I took new screenshots, so I've got the bitmaps here - I'll swap them over to png in the next update.

Click here to view the secret text


As with the last ones, the secret page is hidden in a tiny link somewhere on the site. I'm working out as many ways as I can to hide them - I have a few good hiding spots worked out, and I'll move it around every now and then.

Background: Hmmm - I'll look around at what other sites have done. There may be a way to offset backgrounds - if there is, I'd do that instead.

Matt

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08-29-2003 at 12:39 PM
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trick
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FAQ kitten, strike! (hey, i figured the Ninja is reserved :P)

You can use CSS' backgroud-position to set the position of the backgroud. Downside is it only works in CSS-capable browsers.. Anyway, I did a quick test with the DROD.net frameset, and came up with this, while using the "mainbackground.gif" image:

left.html: <body (..) style="background-position: top right;" (..)>
top.html: <body (..) style="background-position: 147 83;" (..)> (i think those numbers are right)

By the way, bgproperties="fixed" doesn't seem to work in Mozilla (Firebird). You can use CSS in stead ( "background-attachment=fixed;" ) - but, Mozilla has horrible problems showing fixed background images (at least on my machine; it's dead slow), so it's maybe best to leave it as it is. It works fine in Konqueror.

While i'm at it, there's a small break in the scroll graphics at the top of the pages in Mozilla. I think it's caused by this line (intro.html): <img height="42" alt="" width="2" border="0" /> . There's no source image, so Mozilla shows a 2 pixel wide black box there.

There's something fishy going on with that top in Konqueror, also. When scrolling down, the top graphics scrolls the other way. I think that's a bug in Konqueror, tho.

Oh, and you can use these tools to squeeze png's to be as small as possible without quality loss:
pngrewrite and pngcrush. Both are available for both windows and linux. Use pngrewrite first, then pngcrush. Sometimes it's better to not use pngrewrite, but pngcrush always works.

Miaow :P

- Gerry


[Edited by trick on 08-29-2003 at 03:33 PM GMT: pngrewrite and pngcrush]
08-29-2003 at 03:24 PM
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StuartK
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Could something with offsets be done for the buttons on the left, such that the images overlap? Using transparency, the number of button images could be reduced from 5 to 3 for each button.

[Edited by StuartK on 08-29-2003 at 02:39 PM]
08-29-2003 at 03:38 PM
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ErikH2000
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Mattcrampy wrote:
Webmaster address: Funny, I'm getting spam for the first time - I haven't used the regular address anywhere on the site. Try mtc46@uow.edu.au instead. I'll get it just the same.

Note that I just barely (2 minutes ago) set up webmaster@drod.net to forward e-mails to your mtc46 account.
quote:
Buttons: No blank buttons yet, I haven't tried.

If you want to reuse the stone buttons, I recommend e-mailing Clayton. I seem to have lost the original graphics I sent him with empty buttons.

-Erik

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08-29-2003 at 04:18 PM
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StuartK
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ErikH2000 wrote:
If you want to reuse the stone buttons, I recommend e-mailing Clayton. I seem to have lost the original graphics I sent him with empty buttons.

-Erik


I've already sent him some blank buttons, but I wasn't able to do blank banners that would look exactly the same as the originals (though I can quite easily forge something up if Clayton doesn't have the templates)
08-29-2003 at 06:03 PM
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ErikH2000 wrote:
If you want to reuse the stone buttons, I recommend e-mailing Clayton. I seem to have lost the original graphics I sent him with empty buttons.

-Erik


Sorry! I've gotten a new hard drive since I retired. I don't have any of the files I used when making making the buttons. However, They should be on a CD I made when I was backing up the stuff on my computer. I backed up my music (3.5 days worth), DROD stuff, and saved game files for my other games. I haven't come across those CDs while unpacking yet. They're probably in the storage shed we rented. I have no idea when I'll get them, or what condition they'll be in. It's probably a better idea to have StuartK whip something up. Sorry again.
08-29-2003 at 06:51 PM
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quote:
I have no idea when I'll get them, or what condition they'll be in. It's probably a better idea to have StuartK whip something up. Sorry again.


OK, banners are done. I'm not too happy with the larger of the two - if you do come across that CD, I'm sure the original would be superior to my hack job. I suspect the smaller banner will be the useful one though, so it might not matter at all.

I couldn't figure out what font was used for the 'Forum is now open!' lettering. It looks clearer than the 'Toms New Roman' font for that size lettering. Is it one that is freely available?

[Edited by StuartK on 08-30-2003 at 03:09 AM]
08-30-2003 at 03:53 AM
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Stuart, Matt, I just wanted to let you guys know that we don't need to treat the current art with reverence. Quite alright to try out some other ideas if you are inspired that way. On the other hand, sometimes it is better to make a small change and leave it at that.

It is nice to find someone skillful in the arts of pixel manipulation.

-Erik

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08-30-2003 at 07:11 AM
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quote:
Mattcrampy wrote:Buttons: I reckon the buttons can be done better. I'm considering porting over most of the site to using pngs, but I'm aware that some people can't view them. I'm interested to see just how many people here can't view them, and take that as a kind of sample space.
What you might want to do is include a little snippet of javascript code to detect the user's OS (and browser?), and load the images appropriately. I can even write this for you, if you want.

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09-15-2003 at 02:59 PM
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