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Site Updates

Posted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:16 pm
by Crash
From here on out, I'll put xbomber.co.uk site updates here so that people can leave feedback about them more easily.

Media Images - Show Details
Added "Show details" button to gallery pages such as http://www.xbomber.co.uk/?dir=Game%20Media/Sketches.
This is mainly to show the image file sizes; particularly in that folder, since some of those PNG images are 6MB.
People with slower connections might otherwise very well wonder why these images are slow to appear in the lightbox.
Our host seems to be very quick at pushing the images through however. Even with an empty cache on a 5Mb/s connection, the biggest images are loading within a few seconds.
The feature also gives you an "Open" button for each image that opens the image directly in the browser without the lightbox so that you can save it more easily.
This option was there before in the form of a ">" button next to the title of each image but I don't know if it was clear what it did.
Anyway, to get this, you now have to click "Show details" in the upper right.
The show details link refreshes the page because I thought having a javascript link unhiding maybe 100 or more different <div>s was overkill.

Sidebar and Style Tweaks
I changed the "latest version" box site's right-hand sidebar and got rid of the green, which I thought clashed.
Instead, I hit the download link with some glow effect to make it no less eye-grabbing.
The space background is less busy and the body text colour is less striking.

Context-sensitive Main Menu
The main sections are constantly displayed but it also shows context-sensitive sub-options below, depending on where you are in the site.
ie. in the Star Fleet section, it shows "DVD Screengrabs" and "Fan Work".
The "+" button that expanded the menu is therefore gone. The idea is to make related locations on the site immediately available while keeping the menu on the homepage itself as straight-forward as possible.

Domains and Hosting

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:36 pm
by Crash
So, the cost of a .co.uk domain is doubling this year. I'm glad that Nominet are putting the money to good use by donating some of it to charity and paying their staff an average of £80k/yr and giving their directors bumper bonuses.

xbomber.co.uk has until Dec 2017 before it expires but in the meantime, I plan on making some discrete enquiries into getting xbomber.com or .net.

In the meantime, I see that, while my hosting costs are hardly going down, we're getting stripped of our daily backup snapshots.
Before, Krystal would let you restore anything from any day in the last 30 days.
Now, even though we've had this all along and our disk space is restricted to 10GB, their servers are still somehow overloaded by backups.
All we get from here on out is a single weekly and a single monthly backup, which I'm not very content about (unless I pay more).

I'm not just about to change hosts however, because I remember what a hassle it was last time.

Someone should buy them a NetApp filer with a WAFL filesystem so that you can backup a file 5,000 times and, provided that file hasn't changed, it only takes up the space of 1 file on disk.

On the positive side, I have changed our domain name so that it points to Cloudflare, which accelerates the loading of the site and acts as a blacklist against undesirables.

If anyone has any trouble with the site as a result of this, let me know and we can switch this off. But my impression is that the site loads much faster with it.

But on the face of it, I can see us maybe changing domain in 2017 and probably hosting provider so we can have more space, more backups and less hassle for less cost. (I remember how much trouble Krystal's stupid firewall and their support team gave me with X-Bomber's high score uploads as well as getting SLIR to run the other year).

Re: Site Updates

Posted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:48 pm
by Crash
A little while ago, I went about plugging a few vulnerabilities in the xbomber.co.uk site.

I set off today trying to implement natural, not just alphabetical, ordering on folders on the site.
That turned out to be more difficult than I thought but it now works when listing folders on the main page and when they're listed in the right menu bar.

I did manage to improve the context-sensitive navigation on the right of the website in various folders.

In folders that are 3 layers down, like:
Star Fleet > Fan Works > Shane Perry
... an extra menu has popped up for a while now to show you the other folders in the Fan Works folder.
I wanted to improve that by having the list of folders in Star Fleet and Fan Works all together in a single hierarchy, which is supposed to be simpler.

Anyway, you can see how that works at the moment:
http://www.xbomber.co.uk/?dir=Star%20Fl ... ne%20Perry

I also managed to reduce the number of lines of PHP that the server has to work by quite a lot by through by going back and simplifying things.

A lot of images got added a couple of weeks ago to the Star Fleet Fan Works, Photos and Scans folders which might be of interest.
Have a look around and see what's new.

Does anyone have any requests regarding the site?

Re: Site Updates

Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:32 pm
by Crash
Media Context Menu
  1. Detects and greys out current folder
Version History
  1. Previous projects (Star Fleet _ X-Bomber and Star Fleet the Arcade Game) included
  2. Formatting and organisation improved
  3. Detects whether a filename has been provided for a specific version and whether that filename exists in Game Media/Releases.
    A download link is displayed, if so.
About Section
  1. A wider selection of articles is listed under this section.
  2. About menu greys out the current page

Re: Site Updates

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:59 am
by Crash
Hi All,
Been a little while since I was on here,
I spoke to Krystal hosting back at the end of 2017 about PHP memory limitations preventing the SLIR resizer on the website from scaling down very big images (4000x3000 pixels big etc).
I couldn't crack it the first time around but given that I now have a bit more time available, I phoned Krystal hosting and they examined the SLIR script and found where it was configured with a built-in limit of 100MB, which is way too little.

Anyway, they discovered that problem that had nothing to do with them (I assumed that it was a memory or PHP configuration on the server that was limiting the script).

Anyway, what's great about it is that on gallery pages with very big images, I no longer have to have a 'hidden' original file with a "hi-res" link leading to it, as well as a 'normal' downsized file that SLIR could manage to further downsize by itself.
It just makes everything a lot less complicated;
- saves me from having to resize anything myself,
- saves on disk space because you're only ever storing one file per image in the file structure
- makes the page layout simpler because you no longer need two links to two separate files
http://www.xbomber.co.uk/?dir=Star%20Fl ... wa%20Books

Re: Site Updates

Posted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:23 pm
by Crash
On Friday, I wrote an integration between the xbomber website and facebook.
The problem was that I was putting lots of stuff on facebook; often about updates to the site, but that was not being reflected on the site's front page.
So, anyone visiting the site could well think that it was getting no updates.

I tried embedding a feed into front page but that was limited to 500px width and you had to create a public page and share everything to there. (you can embed feeds from individual facebook users).

I tried the 'default' way of embedding individual updates using iframes but when you tried to increase the width, the content scaled out so that the height was no longer sufficient and your content got cropped.
You had to input some arbirary height figure to make it work each time.

In the end, their way of embedding updates using the javascript SDK as divs, worked out much better.
I made it so that the xbomber.co.uk news script outputs divs with the relevant parameters and pulls the unique facebook article IDs (FBID) from xbomber.co.uk's news database.
All I do to embed a facebook article is to create a news item on xbomber.co.uk, put the FBID into there and it does the rest.

This way, you see the full articles on the website (actually bigger you can see them on facebook).
You can page through the articles within the xbomber.co.uk website and have them mixed in with any updates that were created on the site itself.
You can also display them individually within the website.


At around the same time, there have been some other recent changes:
Structural
- News navigation has been improved somewhat.
- The site new includes images with uppercase extensions in the filenames, when creating random preview images

Content-related
- Help documentation for the game is being improved.
- Appearance of the Version History has been been improved with graphics from the game.
- The pages detailing the original 2003 X-Bomber game and Star Fleet Arcade have been re-done and new screenshots have been added to the latter:
http://www.xbomber.co.uk/?dir=Game%20Me ... 20Projects
- As always, there are all manner of new additions to the Star Fleet section; especially under Fan Work and Merchandise.
- The Space Above and Beyond page has been updated to include a (rather extensive) summary of the descriptions that were present in the previous gallery software:
http://www.xbomber.co.uk/?dir=Other/Coo ... d%20Beyond
- My pet project; the Zentrix area has been expanded with lots of screenshots of the French DVD extras, which contain some interesting images:
http://www.xbomber.co.uk/?dir=Other/TV% ... %20Zentrix
- Thanks to the fix that Krystal Hosting were able to help me with last week, my photoshop images here now display correctly:
http://www.xbomber.co.uk/?dir=Other/New%20Images

Re: Site Updates

Posted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:36 pm
by Jiraiya
I was looking at some of the pictures for the canned Arcade we worked on years ago. Has it really been that long?

Re: Site Updates

Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:43 pm
by Crash
It's been that long. :)
We worked on that right after the first X-Bomber game got put out in 2003.

I think those new screenshots of the platforming levels came out really well.

Re: Site Updates

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:20 pm
by Crash
Dear All,
Since the forum is reasonably quiet these days, I thought I'd say that there's lots going on over on the Star Fleet / X-Bomber facebook group.
There are more than one but this one is the biggest:
https://www.facebook.com/Star-Fleet-aka ... 098957210/

For everyone that hasn't seen, I'm doing a 'Star Fleet (nearly) Saturday' update every week, which I normally put up on a Friday evening.

I spoke with BladeZ and started sharing these across to the above group a few weeks ago.
I also have it set to publish one of my previous Star Fleet articles every Wednesday.
I queued up all the Star Fleet-related updates and left out the X-Bomber the Game-related ones for now.
That takes us up to the start of February.


Because the front page of the site is now showing a lot more updates, the news navigation system was no longer really adequate.
I improved this so that you can jump straight to any page and navigate around a lot more directly.
This feature also allows for more or fewer updates per page, for when I get around to adding that.