Today, around 15:00 UTC, the Wesnoth.org board was disabled by none other than me, in order to perform some maintenance work in the forum files. With this, the forums were upgraded from phpBB 3.0.7-PL1 to phpBB 3.0.8 and one mod was updated to a newer version still awaiting validation from the phpBB mods team.
Additionally, I added a new server-side redirection rule to convert old http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/ and http://wesnoth.org/forum/ links to use the current forums vhostname, forums.wesnoth.org. This should solve issues with inconsistent links lingering around and polluting people’s bookmarks and web pages with different forum paths — of course, this is not automatic and existing references need to be manually updated to reflect any required changes, but at least now /forum has got a well deserved final rest.
There isn’t really any other exciting news to share with you, although I do expect an undefined amount of users to have login problems the next time they visit the forums. This should not be a permanent issue, however, but if it turns out to be I have a solution (a.k.a. “plan B”) prepared for the occasion.
The Battle for Wesnoth forums have been working since quite a while as an authentication source for Multiplayer server users, who can register forum accounts to claim ownership of a username, making it unavailable in MP except to people who can provide the correct login credentials. phpBB 3.0.x, however, doesn’t help a lot in regards to user registration rules since it supports more stuff in usernames than what wesnothd (the Wesnoth MP server software) does.
To fill this gap, I wrote a quick hack long time ago, and enabled it in the forums, forbidding further registrations of incompatible usernames. Nowadays, all new accounts must comply with some simple rules which my mod implements.
Only this night I bothered to actually MODX-ify the hack, which had been previously circulating in the form of a Git commit in my source tree. Now I present to you the Wesnothd Usernames mod for phpBB 3.0.7-pl1.
Version 1.0.0 (Zip, 33.4 KiB)
SHA1 checksum: 1229f401eeac171887cfee8c0ccecd9aaa19dd4a
This might be useful only to very few people since the whole phpBB authentication support code is barely documented — but if you find a use for this mod in your phpBB+wesnothd installation, please feel free to drop me a comment so I can know your experience and fix any bugs that you may find. Of course, it’s unlikely that there are any bugs here since this modifications has been part of the official Wesnoth.org forums for more than a year. 😉
After some hesitation, I have deployed Prosilver Special Edition on the Wesnoth.org forums, with multiple changes meant to make it more similar to mainline Prosilver in terms of layout. Wesnoth’s custom Prosilver changes have also been applied on our copy of Prosilver SE.
In fact, Prosilver SE as used in Wesnoth.org depends completely on the main Prosilver template rather than its own partial template set, and it also replaces the default Prosilver theme/stylesheets and imagesets, since otherwise very few people would choose to use it. Besides, OAB.
Of course, further changes are not unlikely to occur, depending both on the users’ feedback and my own testing experiences.
Most people who frequented phpBB 2 forums have met the Subsilver theme at some point. Wesnoth’s community is not the exception, and the phpBB 3 switch completed by cycholka/Mist in March 2008 during the third-to-last host migration involved switching everyone to Subsilver2, which is the last incarnation of the good old Subsilver. Most of us Wesnoth forumers have become accustomed to the cleanness, quirks and old-school feel of Subsilver2.
However, that will eventually change.
Maintaining patches for mods affecting the forum user and moderator front-ends involves editing three template sets, which are Prosilver (phpBB 3’s new built-in and default style), Subsilver2 and AcidTech, which is Subsilver2-based with some essential layout differences. There are even some mods that don’t provide MODX instructions for Subsilver2, since it’s not essential for approval in the official modifications database to include support for this style that’s most likely going to be dropped in future phpBB release series.
If you take a look at my Projects section you’ll also notice that I’ve needed to write a couple of Subsilver2 hacks in the past to add minor functionality that’s present in the official phpBB 3 “Olympus” forum theme by default. There’s a third custom change in my tree, corresponding to the Quick Reply editor toggle button.
Finally, it's January! The New Year celebrations are mostly over and fading away, and people all around the world are going back to regular business and everything should be back to normal in a few days.
I used to be fond of the Christmas and New Year celebrations as a child as I could spend time with my family and eat delicious food. That is not the case anymore, because, even if I still live with my parents, there's no longer a sense of family here and we only want to throw sharp stuff at each other. There's not much enthusiasm by the end of the year anymore, and phrases such as “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year” (in Spanish, though) are truly unheard of in this house. Recent disagreements amongst us indicate that this is not going to be a good year for anyone. To add insult to injury, one of our cats died in a rather tragic and violent fashion on December 22th — it's a tradition here that one or more pets must always die in December. While we have many of them, the first ones to die are those whom we are most attached to.
To mark the actual start of 2010 (as far as the Gregorian calendar is involved, of course), there was a black-out on the area about 6 minutes 7 seconds past midnight, which left us with no Internet or tap water until around 1:50 AM. What a great way to start the first day of the year.
But there's still some hope at the moment. Some days before Xmas, my creativity returned from its long, chaotic journey and my Wesnoth add-on, After the Storm (sequel to Invasion from the Unknown has seen steady progress and two new releases were published in less than two weeks. Keep in mind that this add-on had not seen any public releases for almost a year.
After the last released version of AtS (0.2.1) including 5 of 12 planned scenarios in Episode I, there has been more progress in the Wesnoth-UMC-Dev repository. Just yesterday, I finished the two-part cutscene that is the sixth scenario of Episode I, one of the most important points of the plot's development, in which two forest elves finally make contact with the desert/Quenoth elves.
I won't be able to release AtS 0.2.2 or 0.3.0 until scenario 7 and the next cutscene (appropriately named “Resolutions”) are finished, since I'd be teasing the players otherwise. However, those who are really interested on it can always check AtS out from the repository's trunk into their <wesnoth preferences dir>/data/add-ons dir and play using the latest development version of Wesnoth:
svn co https://wesnoth-umc-dev.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/wesnoth-umc-dev/trunk/After_the_Storm
It's really exciting to work with several plot elements from quartex's Under the Burning Suns in new, creative manners — kind of like Fanfic production taken to a new level using the power of the GNU General Public License (version 2 or later!). Nevertheless, I am fairly sure he deliberately left much details unresolved in the original campaign, and that he'd fry us (Espreon, AI0867 and me) alive if he found out what we are doing with his story.
One week before Xmas, the Wesnoth.org forums saw another upgrade on which Turuk and I worked hard and quickly to improve forum usability by not only upgrading the codebase to phpBB 3.0.6, but also tweaking the templates, adding modifications and a couple of new forum styles to take advantage of the new features implemented by the phpBB devs in this iteration of their software. The main points were highlighted in this forum post (originally a Global Announcement).
This year should also bring us a new stable series (1.8) of the Battle for Wesnoth game itself. There are currently some problems delaying the first Release Candidate and getting us flooded with generic beta releases, but the developers in charge of them will (hopefully!) find a solution so we can get 1.8 released and trunk “thawed” soon, to work on new features and allow new code contributors to join the project. As for me, I can't wait for the new stable series — development series players seem to be scarce and the new versions of IftU and AtS are receiving little feedback on the forums because of this! I suppose Multiplayer content authors are similarly eager to get more fresh meat to play their add-ons.
I also recently talked about how I can finally suspend my laptop to RAM using Linux, and run some basic OpenGL-based software without crashing or destroying anything. That's something I didn't expect to be able to do in the near future, so the Mesa, libdrm and X.org radeon driver developers have my thanks for improving the Linux experience of those unfortunate enough to own onboard ATI graphics controllers!
In summary, as usual, a new year brings good and bad news. I guess it's up to us to take what's good and fix what's wrong. So, anyway (although I guess it's pretty much unnecessary at this point): happy New Year and have fun!