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3 Questions for Moonpod
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beefburger



Joined: 26 Aug 2005
Posts: 21



PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:09 pm    Post subject: 3 Questions for Moonpod Reply with quote

Hi can you guys help me with these questions plz...

I hear a lot about people saying they are not worth it because they are constantly getting hacked all the time and the users are too much trouble. What do you guys think?

Also are online highscores worth the hassle of trying to implement anti-hacking features and get rid of cheat score? Confused

How can I know if my game idea has been done before me? Embarassed I don't know if it is me or google, and I don't play many mainstream games nowadays...

Thanks!
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:42 pm    Post subject: Re: 3 Questions for Moonpod Reply with quote

beefburger wrote:
I hear a lot about people saying they are not worth it


What's not worth it?


beefburger wrote:
Also are online highscores worth the hassle of trying to implement anti-hacking features and get rid of cheat score? Confused


If you don't implement anti-hacking features then don't even bother with an online high score. It's amazing what passes for entertainment for some people, but any high score system will get attacked. Spoils it for everyone, but there you go, that's the Internet for you.

beefburger wrote:
How can I know if my game idea has been done before me? Embarassed I don't know if it is me or google, and I don't play many mainstream games nowadays...


These are good websites you can search on that list tons of old games:

http://www.the-underdogs.org/
http://www.mobygames.com/home
http://www.gamerankings.com/

In a way it might not matter, after all "there are no new ideas". As long as you are doing your own thing and doing your own interpretation. If everything is coming out of your own head then I'd have thought it was unlikely you could accidentally infringe a copyright, trademark or patent as most are fairly obvious. If you use music, artwork, code or data you didn't personally create then you have to be a lot more careful.
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Weeble
Starscape Jedi
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Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*splutter*

Patents? Fairly obvious? Only in that some of the most stupidly obvious things are getting patented. I am quite worried about the idea of user interface patents.
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beefburger



Joined: 26 Aug 2005
Posts: 21



PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 6:03 pm    Post subject: Re: 3 Questions for Moonpod Reply with quote

Poo Bear wrote:
beefburger wrote:
I hear a lot about people saying they are not worth it


What's not worth it?


Lol sorry I accidentally deleted a part of the sentence, I was referring to forums (such as this one)


Poo Bear wrote:
beefburger wrote:
Also are online highscores worth the hassle of trying to implement anti-hacking features and get rid of cheat score? Confused


If you don't implement anti-hacking features then don't even bother with an online high score. It's amazing what passes for entertainment for some people, but any high score system will get attacked. Spoils it for everyone, but there you go, that's the Internet for you.

yeah, it's a shame. for the amount of problems it would cause i don't think it is probably worth it, i guess i could always add a forum or something where they can discuss their scores or maybe show replays.

Poo Bear wrote:

In a way it might not matter, after all "there are no new ideas". As long as you are doing your own thing and doing your own interpretation. If everything is coming out of your own head then I'd have thought it was unlikely you could accidentally infringe a copyright, trademark or patent as most are fairly obvious. If you use music, artwork, code or data you didn't personally create then you have to be a lot more careful.


well it was always my dream game, but it seems kind of obvious... so maybe it is patented Shocked
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weeble wrote:
*splutter*

Patents? Fairly obvious? Only in that some of the most stupidly obvious things are getting patented. I am quite worried about the idea of user interface patents.



True, there have been some abuses (amazon one click ordering) and some understandable but annoying ones (mp3 decoding). The question here though refers to actual game concepts/mechanics. I have heard of one or two being submitted for patent (pompom's physics type game mechanic) but never heard of one being granted although i'm sure it must have happened. Surely you're 99% safe to run with any design you think of? I think Atari patented sprites and joysticks years ago, but only to prevent others from doing it.
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Fost
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 11:28 am    Post subject: Re: 3 Questions for Moonpod Reply with quote

Re: Forums. I'll take that question in two parts:

1: 'Forums are getting hacked all the time'
Yes, all forum software is constantly getting hacked, especially the higher profile it has. So, what can you do? Here's our recommendations (not that we are experts though!)
  • Most decent sized boards have an updates mailing list - subscribe to it!!
  • when an update comes along, make sure you update straight away. If you don't have the time, consider disabling your board for a few days until you can perform the update. (just to prove this point - when the last major phpbb hack turned up, I implemented the changes immediately, I checked our web logs the next day, and there had been several hundred attempts to use the exploit.
  • Use a separate database to the rest of your site with its own login and password.


2: 'the users are too much trouble'

Hmm, not really - in fact the users are the whole point of the board and pretty much the only reason it's worthwhile. If you open a forum to the public, then you have to expect the odd idiot to turn up, thankfully they rarely hang around long. In the time this board has been up, we've had 3 or 4 people turn up just to 'gloat' that they had copied Starscape. They just got banned an never came back (but I doubt they would have anyway). A handful of people who turn up asking for help in a way that makes us a little suspicious - we used to deal with this on the board, but now we send a very polite email to the user. 90% of the time we are right, and the remaning 10% we have found that legit customers are very understanding, and we repay that as best we can by writing them a detailed personal response to their issue. Above and beyond that, we had one person who caused hassle for about a day by persistently logging on with a different ip every time we banned him, and another who comes back every 6 months or so/emails us in an attempt to be annoying, but it doesn't really phase us, and we just ban him again. We did have one instance of a board user who left because we annoyed him too much - I regret the way we handled that, but not the reasons.

Anyway - that seems like a really small price to pay for what we get out of the board - great feedback, fun talk about games,films,comics and the odd random crazy thread that's fun to read.

PS - I'm going to change your name (see here why.) - any preferences? if not I'll just set it to 'BeefBurger'.
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beefburger



Joined: 26 Aug 2005
Posts: 21



PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:05 pm    Post subject: Re: 3 Questions for Moonpod Reply with quote

beefburger is fine by me Surprised

Fost wrote:
Re: Forums. I'll take that question in two parts:

1: 'Forums are getting hacked all the time'
Yes, all forum software is constantly getting hacked, especially the higher profile it has. So, what can you do? Here's our recommendations (not that we are experts though!)
  • Most decent sized boards have an updates mailing list - subscribe to it!!
  • when an update comes along, make sure you update straight away. If you don't have the time, consider disabling your board for a few days until you can perform the update. (just to prove this point - when the last major phpbb hack turned up, I implemented the changes immediately, I checked our web logs the next day, and there had been several hundred attempts to use the exploit.
  • Use a separate database to the rest of your site with its own login and password.

[b]


cool, i was thinking of getting ikonboard because it has a built in update center... which i guess automates some of the process of updating


do you ever get people who come and accuse you of scamming them or anything? is it sensible to have a forum for ordering issues, or are those issues best kept private? Confused
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Fost
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 8:14 pm    Post subject: Re: 3 Questions for Moonpod Reply with quote

beefburger wrote:
beefburger is fine by me Surprised

Cool! Although feel at liberty to use profanity now you are registered, as that is then masked from unregistered guests/search engines (you can set this in your prefs Wink
beefburger wrote:
i was thinking of getting ikonboard because it has a built in update center


That sounds like an important feature! One of our board members always recommends simple machines forum, although I've never used it myself, it might be worth looking at too.

beefburger wrote:
do you ever get people who come and accuse you of scamming them or anything? is it sensible to have a forum for ordering issues, or are those issues best kept private? Confused

Never had anyone accuse us of running a scam; not sure why they would either.
Most people with ordering questions/issues email in, although we are happy to sort out anything on the board if it crops up. In fact, it's worth having sometimes because of random internet problems - one person couldn't get a password reminder. Turned out his isp's dns was mucked up and half the world couldn't email him, but he managed to get in touch via the board.
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OvermindDL1



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 138



PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea, I was the one that recommended SMF. If there is a new version or update or anything, just enter the admin section, bug ol' thing at top telling you there is an update and click it to download/install it. Very simple. Enter the package area and look on the smf server section and you'll see tons of addins people have made, just install what you want directly, no downloading, no messing with altering files, very simple. The board also prides itself as being one of the, if not the most secure php forum out.
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beefburger



Joined: 26 Aug 2005
Posts: 21



PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OvermindDL1 wrote:
Yea, I was the one that recommended SMF. If there is a new version or update or anything, just enter the admin section, bug ol' thing at top telling you there is an update and click it to download/install it. Very simple. Enter the package area and look on the smf server section and you'll see tons of addins people have made, just install what you want directly, no downloading, no messing with altering files, very simple. The board also prides itself as being one of the, if not the most secure php forum out.


wow, so it's all automated? Smile and a little message when there is an update?
one thing i liked about ikonboard was it has a built in news system that you can link into your main site, so news can just be posted in a specific forum Confused

it would be nice to have a self-patching board, but i guess that is not feasible, or something Surprised

by the way, how do i have a decent back-up of my forum? Confused (any forum software)
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Fost
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beefburger wrote:
by the way, how do i have a decent back-up of my forum? Confused (any forum software)

It totally depends on the setup you are using. Most boards provide a way to make an sql dump (a dump of the database entries for all the posts) from the admin panel, so at the worst, you could just remember to do that once in a while. Some control panels allow you to set up regular backups to be made.

If you feel like delving deeper into linux and have a dedicated server, you can set up a cron job (cron jobs are just timed events - e.g. most web servers build web stats once daily). You can then run a batch script daily to make an sql dump, zip the file and either ftp it somewhere or back it up somewhere on the server.
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beefburger



Joined: 26 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fost wrote:
It totally depends on the setup you are using. Most boards provide a way to make an sql dump (a dump of the database entries for all the posts) from the admin panel, so at the worst, you could just remember to do that once in a while. Some control panels allow you to set up regular backups to be made.


Control panel as in server, not forum..? I was thinking of getting FastHosts' Linux hosting, but I really don't have a clue what I am looking for Laughing I can't seem to find any information about bandwidth, erm....
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Fost
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beefburger wrote:
Control panel as in server, not forum..?

Yes, although to be honest, I don't know a lot about control panels. When we first got a dedicated server, it was pretty much just a linux box at the end of a line, so we had to do a crash course in linux setup/security/administration. It's a lot to learn and if you can avoid it by having good control panel software, you'll save literally months of time.

The fasthosts thing seems really cheap, although we've always used US based hosting so it's faster for our main audience (which is on the other side of the atlantic). they also seem to have a lot of good setup options. Although you should note that the datapipe is less than many adsl connections and gets pretty expensive to expand.(you are talking about 160 gig pm if the server is going at full pelt)
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beefburger



Joined: 26 Aug 2005
Posts: 21



PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems Fasthosts are really mysterious and evil... apparently you cannot have downloads as they aren't "active website" content, and they won't say how much bandwidth you can use Confused

I think I might try http://asmallorange.com/ since it was the first link to come up when I searched for SMF requirements. Meh...
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OvermindDL1



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SMF has things to allow you to make news things like you've stated, I've made some... interesting things with its abilities. For example, here is a webcomic site that has 5 webcomic sections. He wanted each comic to be commentable, next/prev/etc... buttons, he wanted to be able to post them in the future, completely safe from any random downloading so people can't see pictures ahead of time, and for it to auto become visible and the comments section created in the appropriate board so people can make comments. I even made a page system so all you have to do is install my mod, copy this template into any php file and edit one line in it to specify what it is. At that point you just create the page in a hidden section of the forum (or he could make it public, but he has it hidden) using all the bbcode/html(if admin), smilie's and such and all. It even has a rotating banner at the top of every page. I did this all in one night, SMF makes things like this very easy. I've been wanting to remake it to use xmlrpc so that when the next/prev/etc... buttons are clicked, that is *just* updates the picture and comment, not the whole page. I may still do that, it's easy to have it do that if the functionality exists, or use html if not. I am always *big* about using javascript and such to enhance functionality, never replace it. If javascript is disabled, *everything* should still function properly.

As for backing up, I have mysql administrator on my computer here, and every night at 10 past midnight I have it auto turn on, connect, and get an entire dump, then shut itself back off. I always have a backup up to the day. Smile
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