Tuesday, 27 March 2018 22:25

Me and phpBB!

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Today was an interesting day.  It's that old story, for want of a nail....

Currently I'm playing a nice little combat game called Battle Bay and I seem to have inherited a guild.

Once you have clearly understood that I am now the leader of a motley cohort of captains battling our way through the bay there's something else which is vital for you to know.  

I'm the most antisocial guy you're every likely to meet online.

Honestly, I suspect that's a generational thing.  I just tend to not be very impressed with the behavior of other gamers and prefer to go it alone.  I could've invented the line, The only thing wrong with massively multiplayer games is all those other players.

Anyway, how does all this lead up to phpBB?  As I said, I inherited this guild and I'm not exactly a skilled guild leader.  But it did occur to me that if I had a way to discuss things with the people in my guild that might help.  Yes, the in-game guild communication tools are somewhere between poor and non-existent.  If only my guild had a web site...

Subsinkers - Banner.jpg

So a bit of fussing around with graphics design and I had the basics to throw together a quick Joomla / K2 site.  But the original problem was not just to have some sort of guild blog.  I wanted to discuss things with my fellow guild members and that means a discussion board.  I looked into some of the joomla components which provide this functionality but they simply don't compare to the grand daddy of open source boards, phpBB.  Right out of the box the system offers pretty much everything a person is used to when going to any board anywhere.  I added a few extensions (of which there's a credible variety) but they were hardly necessary.  One provides a hover preview when hovering over a thread title.  Another is supposed provide a handy option for external linking of images to Imgur but so far, love getting that to work.  

By far most of my work has been on the design side and template customization.  phpBB uses a new technology to me, CSS pre-processing.  Basically, you write in a meta-CSS language and run it through the pre-processor which does a ton of magical things... most of which I'm just slowly coming to understand.  A handy tool called Prepros does this for me on my windows desktop.  Other customizations are handled in what the system calls "html" files but are also some sort of meta-language.  In the end, I got something which has consistent look and feel.  It's early days and the design is rough but there's a board up with custom graphics and template and most importantly, I have my first question posed to my guild members in a poll!  

Now... if only I actually wanted to run a guild...

 

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