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Topics - DaVince


So the 42nd installment of the Ludum Dare game jam will be happening this weekend.
The competition lasts for the weekend if you're working alone, and it lasts 3 days if you're working in a team. Full rules here.

I'm going to be joining in (along with my wife, who will be doing some graphics and Rhuan, who will probably be contributing code) and make a little miniSphere game for it, and I was wondering if anyone else might be interested in joining in and make a game as well! :)

There will be a theme to the competition, but it isn't known until pretty much the last moment. These are the final possible themes that are being voted on right now though:

Some history with Ludum Dare and Spherical:
In the past I've participated before (and so has Radnen, several times in fact) and it's a good way to gain exposure to miniSphere as well.
Off-Topic Discussions / Happy new year everyone!
I'm spending time with my wife in Texas right now, so it'll still be a few hours before it turns midnight here, but...

Happy new year, everyone!

I hope you all have a very good 2018!
(As a response to Miscreant's project ZeC screenshots) It looks neat, but if you'll permit me a bit of criticism, the resolution of some of the elements doesn't really match up. ThatsNoLink, as well as the GUI, are shown at a 1x pixel size compared to anything else on the screen, which is 2x pixel size. This basically destroys the illusion that this could be a game running on an old system, and is just a little inconsistent in general.

That said, I very much like the progress you are making with this, all the ideas you have for it, and I'm looking forward to the moment you release something. :)
Spherical News / Announcement: wiki updates
Just a heads up, but I'm going to be working on getting the wiki to perform faster.

I'd eventually like to update the wiki with a bunch of useful new articles and modifications, but as it is currently, the entire thing performs too slowly for this to be an enjoyable and speedy experience.
Imagine I have an event queue that triggers at some point, for example:

- Make player walk north a few tiles
- Then make NPC walk south a few tiles
- Then show a text box
- Then wait a little
- Then show another text box
- Then make both player and NPC walk north at the same time (as if he was following the NPC)
- End event when both reach their destination

To be honest, I'm not sure I've ever really known how to do this properly in a non-blocking way. You know, something that leverages the renderscript and updatescript in classic Sphere while not blocking anything else going on on the map. Now that miniSphere comes with its whole new and improved API, I'd like to know even more how to do this the proper way, but I'm not really even sure where to begin with this...
Spherical News / Forum updates thread
So if everything looks a little different right now, that's because the forum system has just been migrated to ElkArte! It's basically a modern version of the SMF forum system that is actually properly maintained and updated. This was necessary as old SMF was starting to show its age and breaking on a standard, updated server configuration.

ElkArte also has much improved features like better spam management, which is an absolute must for this place as you might know.

I will be taking advantage of the move to try to improve the forums in a few other ways too.

If you find any bugs, issues, or have suggestions, please let me know!
Site Comments / Idea: forum migration?
So SMF is apparently ancient and doesn't seem to be updated much anymore. Even now, it does not officially support PHP 7 and it is by sheer luck that it runs at all. Not to mention it's had many issues with spambots and the like, as well as just problems and shortcomings in general.

So I was thinking... Maybe we could migrate the forums to a more modern forum system? Not right away -- eventually!
I have stumbled across a much better option, one that will allow us to extend the forum system in a way that could grow the community as a whole a little.

I experimented with MyBB and it seems to work great and come with a TON of features on both the user and admin sides, as well as mods and themes. It seems like a much better option for the future. It seems to even cover migration from other forums (see attached screenshot), so that's pretty awesome.

But naturally, I wouldn't just make such a big change without receiving some thoughts on this.
Spherical News / Forum and wiki software upgrades
Casiotone and I are working on getting everything updated.

The plan:

  • I'm going to update the forum software first, since that's easiest.

  • Then I'll update the wiki software, which is much more of a hassle. Hopefully, this will improve general wiki performance.

  • Finally, casiotone will try enabling PHP 7, since everything currently runs on PHP 5. This should make everything load faster in general, but it might break things, so we'll have to keep an eye on that.

Tyanks to casiotone, the Spherical server is once again capable of sending out emails! This has fixed account creation issues on the forums.

Something's still up on the wiki side; I'm looking into it.

Also, I was given admin access to the server, so I'll try my best to maintain whatever I can here and on the wiki. :)
Articles / Getting started with miniSphere
I rewrote the Getting started article:

Kinda figured I'd also post this in Articles for visibility and feedback.
Game Development / Canasta, by Defiant
So this is not my project, obviously, but I just happened to stumble through it while looking at active and old members on Spherical. And then I found a blog, maintained by Defiant... and then I found a game he'd been working on and recently released.

The game in question is Canasta, a classic card game I distinctly remember playing with my grandparents. He finished a 1.0 release of it back in May, and it's all made in good old Sphere. (It works perfectly in miniSphere too). I figured I'd post it here. I uh, kinda hope he doesn't mind, but then again, what is a blog for?
Site Comments / Discord server
Join our Discord server!

~~Old message below~~

I've been thinking... How much interest would there be in a Discord server?

For those not in the know: Discord is a persistent chat application. Much like IRC, but allows multiple chatrooms in one community, and keeps the chat persistent so you can pick up where you left off at any time and not miss anything.

I've noticed that there is real potential to revive communities through the Discord chat application, especially small ones like ours. It certainly got things a lot more active and lively in another small community I moderate (, and I've heard the same from people in other niche communities.

The nice thing about Discord is that it's accessible anywhere (including a web version), and it allows for quick sharing of not just chat messages, but also images and files. It's basically a really integrated, friendly system, and it really encourages interaction more, with both old and new members. (Also markdown support in chat is nice)

But I don't know the community's stance on setting up something like Discord for Sphere. It took a little while before I myself was convinced, but thinking about it, this would be a really nice way for the community to keep communicating, especially since we have almost no new people coming to the forums anymore.
Excuse me if I'm overstepping any boundaries when it comes to changing and adding things to the website, but I'm just feeling really active and excited about Sphere in general right now. ;D

I've found Twitter to be a good way to communicate publicly, especially with game devs, and it's actually decently effective at getting yourself out there... so it only follows naturally that we have a Spherical Twitter account. So I made one:

Please follow it if you have a Twitter account! Also, I'll grant whoever would like to post things access to the account. And finally, it seems useful to keep using a consistent hashtag for Sphere-related stuff on Twitter, like #spheredev and #minisphere. :)
Site Comments / Improving the wiki
Now that miniSphere has matured a fair bit, the wiki is kind of in a sorry state -- it still assumes that legacy Sphere is the only thing that exists. In other words, we're going to need new documentation.

I'd like to slowly start tackling this problem. Not just exposing the new API, but also having little tutorials in how to get started and use the tools that come with miniSphere, as I myself am kind of scratching my head on how to use them right now. Basically, it's not too easy to get started if you don't also have an editor available, even though Fat Cerberus has tried his best to document lots of things. I'm planning to document my findings as I try to build a miniSphere game from the ground up.

More importantly right now, we need to find a good way to distinguish legacy Sphere from miniSphere. Categorization is a given, of course, although I wonder if more shouldn't be done to really separate the two. After all, we have articles titled "API:Functions" that can get in the way here.

I also have to mention that the front page is locked from editing, so it's the articles themselves that will have to be changed.

My ideas:

  • Move all content from API:Functions into Legacy:API or perhaps Sphere1:API
  • Create a Sphere2:API article and "Sphere 2 API" category. Perhaps also categories for "Sphere 2 module" and "Sphere 2 script"?
  • Turn API:Functions into a simple disambiguation page that would link to Legacy:API and Sphere2:API.
  • Rewrite the Getting Started article for Sphere 2 (but preserve the current one on a Legacy: page)
  • Tutorial for writing a Cell script?
  • A tutorial that walks you through making a very basic game, and then extending it using several of the new APIs and modules
  • Copy Fat Cerberus' miniSphere docs into some articles and start writing articles based on all the functions and modules

Any thoughts/ideas/suggestions?
Okay, so the downloads repository wasn't really ever completed, partially because there are so many Sphere games to sift through, old and new. I'd wanted to test them all out and upload/document the ones that functioned, but in the end this was way more of an undertaking than I thought it'd be.

So I'm left with a TON of neat and intriguing little Sphere games and projects archived on my hard drive. I figured I'd upload and share them all without bothering to really go through them all in that much detail. There's a lot of stuff out there, after all.

I'm entirely certain that I'm still missing a lot of Sphere games. For example, I'm missing a lot of the stuff that Radnen, Flying Jester and Beaker have made.

The games can be found here:

If you have Sphere games that I'm clearly still missing, please upload them here? I love keeping an archive of all this stuff. :)