Monday, July 23, 2007

Forums Moving

The forums are moving - I'll come back to that after a few game snippets.

8 Kingdoms 1.1.0 has been released, with bug fixes and minor improvements over the previous stable release (release notes). They have yet to update their website but the new version is on the download page. 8 Kingdoms is an open source 3D TBS game with nice graphics, and can be downloaded for Linux and Windows.

Dave, the author of Battle for Wesnoth, is making a new 3D RPG game with the working name Sliver Tree. It is very early days but Dave has an unusual position in the open source game development world - he has a lot of artistic resources at his disposal. If he really pushes this game, Wesnoth contributors (of which there are many) will back it with artwork, so it is going to be an interesting one to watch. Also I like Dave's approach of keeping games simple. He resisted many calls to add lots of features to Wesnoth which may have taken away from the pure simplicity of the game.

So, back to the forum issue.

Our benevolent hosts have lost 3 weeks worth of data. I could stomach the copious service interruptions with this free service, but losing data is just out of order. They gave a bunch of techincal excuses but the reality is that the service they provided was a long way short of what they offered, and to lose 3 weeks of data like that just smacks of incompetence. They frequently afflicted us with downtime, each time with some excuse of how this downtime would lead to a better and more reliable service, but each time it was the same. Before you shout, "but it was free!" let me remind you they offer this free service to get a large community to whom they can offer paid services i.e. is a shoehorn into the hosting market for the people behind it. Ironically I was considering upgrading to a paid-for service with them to get better uptime and a few more features but do you think I want to pay to rely on them now? No, this was disgusting.

So now I'm sorting out new forums - will be done by tomorrow. Since another "feature" of is the inability to get your own backups or dumps, the new forums will have to be started from scratch. However with about 70 registered users and over 600 posts in only a few months despite the patchy service, I am convinced they serve a need for the free software games community so it was not a wasted effort and a good lesson for the new forums.