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CoN Site News
I'll spare everyone a long-winded update given that I'm now a day late and still recovering from traveling with a summer cold: you may well have noticed that yesterday, July 31, marked the 25th anniversary of Caves of Narshe. It's plainly obvious that many of the strengths of this humble site that kept it going for so long have waned, but I know well how loved our core content remains, though perhaps its audience has dwindled over time.
As always, I want to thank everyone who reads this at any point for their support, either implied or expressed, over the years. I am still happy to keep the lights on around here because of it, and because I know that we provide things that you can't find easily elsewhere (and if you can, they probably stole them from us, the rogues). While I'm not cranking out the new fancy stuff very often these days, and when I am it might be a shade on the dry, techy side, you all should know that if you're reading this we remain of a community and I am thrilled to have my place in it with you all. Or at least most of you all. A lot of you are pretty weird, truth be told.
I have missed out on being able to provide a lot of pomp and circumstance for this big milestone, and I wish I'd done better, but I always hope for the best. I did design a new take on our logo, as I have for every big anniversary since the tenth. As I usually do, I will probably document the design process over at my own blog and will crosspost it here when I do. If you like the golden watercolor, I did manage to make it also into an image that will class up your computer, tablet or phone, so go check that out. If you would be interested in having a printed copy of your own, well, I didn't make any to give away this year but post here or come to our Discord server and make your interest known and I will see what I can do in the near future. Or, you know, just post at the site or join Discord and talk with us. We are still game, if you'll pardon the pun.
Oh, dear, I've gone long-winded again. Sorry.
It's been quite a long time since I've had anything good to talk about with CoN progress. I'm still trying! I promise! So, with that in mind, I do have a little bit to talk about today that probably isn't the most exciting for most of you reading this but hopefully will still help you enjoy your CoN experience just a bit more.
Starting this past weekend, I've shifted a big chunk of the CoN website into an Amazon Cloudfront CDN. This should mean pretty much nothing to you readers out there - if I did my job correctly - but it does have some potential benefits. For one, the site should load faster now, particularly in the case of the images we use in our guides and website (and forums!). Additionally, it did give me the opportunity to fix another couple minor bugs that I found while doing the conversion; and, down the road further, this is the first step to making the rest of the site faster and more useful for you people out there using it to complete your games or generally enjoy Final Fantasy.
Of course, this also means that if you see something that's looking weird, I'd appreciate you letting me know. I went hard into the move-fast-and-break-things approach for this, and while I'm pretty sure I didn't do the "break things" part, well, you never know. And, if for some reason you have some curiosity about how exactly I did this and why now, you can always visit my personal blog where I go into a deeper dive.
Thanks for sticking around CoN - we're happy to have you visiting, using our resources, and in fact reading this!
Happy new year, CoN friends and Final Fantasy music fans; with 2018 upon us, we now know how the 2017 Regalia Music Playlist Championship ended up! In a pretty big blowout for the final, Balance is Restored, the Final Fantasy VI ending theme, took honors over Liberi Fatali from Final Fantasy VIII. Here's how the top five songs sorted out at the end of it all:
- Balance is Restored, Final Fantasy VI
- Liberi Fatali, Final Fantasy VIII
- Trisection, Final Fantasy Tactics
- Corridors of Time, Chrono Trigger
- Chrono Trigger (Crono's Theme), Chrono Trigger
Obviously, this was a very different tournament from the last one many years ago; we nominated songs differently, we included many more games and songs in the final bracket, and of course we had the neato Regalia website to help manage it all. For all that, we definitely ended up with a very different set of tracks fighting to the end, but we still ended up with one thing the same as last time around: an epic Final Fantasy VI song at the top of the heap.
Because of how differently things played out in the songs, we had a very tight race for our prizes. Only seven people even managed to get any of the songs that ended up in the top five, and of those, only one person got two songs, and that same person was the only person to get one of the songs exactly right (it was Liberi Fatali in second, for the curious). That person, our winner, is AltheaValara! Congratulations to her! Second and third place could not be separated at all, as they each got the second-best predictions for each most closely predicting the final position of Corridors of Time, so they will each get the second-place prize should they so choose. Those two people are Glenn Magus Harvey and Sherick.
Thanks to everyone who nominated, predicted, and voted along the way. I hope you all had a good time, and all the best to you and everyone at CoN for 2018!
Earlier today, I shut down the nomination phase. Sorry to those who were too lazy to get it done! It's possible you might not have gotten your favorite song in to the top sixty-four nominations by missing out, but it's okay, because now it's time for the second phase, and it's much faster to do this one and it's the part where you can win prizes.
https://regalia.cavesofnarshe.com/ is still where it's at. If you go back today, you'll see something similar to before, but now there are only sixty-four songs to choose from, and you only choose five. The new list is alphabetized, so that nobody has any idea which songs were most popular - from that list, you choose, in order, which ones you think will be the top five after everyone votes on the matchups which will be coming soon. Once you submit your list, you're entered to win the prizes we showed a month ago!
We'll leave this phase open until at least November 1, after which we'll get the voting started. Please remember to share to social media after you make your picks, because everyone everywhere can still play, whether they nominated or not!
I'll post the list of sixty-four as a subsequent comment to this news post for folks who want to see it before making their picks.
Way, way back, back in the day, a hundred years, it seems that way, CoN did the "Final Fantasy Music CoNtest." Really, though, we last did a smackdown here at CoN to pick the best Final Fantasy music seven years ago, and it was a smash. But, there have been several more games in the main Final Fantasy series since then, and we figure it's high time to take a shot at it again, especially in light of the series' 30th anniversary and CoN's 20th anniversary this year.
So, here's the setup: Noctis and friends from Final Fantasy XV have a pretty serious sound system in their car, the Regalia. So many musical options that there's no telling what to play next, so they're going to need some help figuring out what's best. And that's where we come in, by visiting https://regalia.cavesofnarshe.com/ (or on Facebook).
The Regalia PlaylistStarting now, and running through the end of September, everyone out there with a CoN account can pick fifteen songs from Final Fantasy to make up their own preferred playlist. You'll be able to pick from every single numbered entry in the series, including the MMOs, with a couple bonus games that CoN covers to boot (Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy Tactics, of course). At the end of September, we'll compile everyone's selections into a 64-song knockout tournament by which we'll determine the best songs from the last thirty years for Noctis to load up as he travels across Eos.
We can discuss the knockout when we get there, so let's dive a little more in to the nomination process starting now. As I mentioned, everyone with a CoN account can go to https://regalia.cavesofnarshe.com/ or the tab on our Facebook page to nominate fifteen songs. They're organized by game, and every one has a listen link so you can familiarize yourself with the song again if you can't quite remember it by name. You can click and drag or doubleclick to add a song to your list (or tap if you're on your tablet), and click or tap the trash can to remove it from the list. You can also click and drag to reorder your list as you make it, but once you submit with the green checkmark, you're locked in.
List the songs in your preferred order, because higher rankings are worth more when we do the seeding. The song you pick for the number one slot is worth 15 ranking points, and the song you choose at #15 is worth just one. Our tournament seedings will be based on the overall ranking points earned by every person's picks, so make sure you give the highest spots in your list to the songs you most badly want to see in the tournament.
Around October 1, we'll shut down the nomination process and take some time to rank all the songs that got nominated to come up with a final bracket of 64. After that, the voting will begin and you all will have the opportunity to vote your favorite nominees to the top. At the end of it all, we'll have a brand-spanking-new 2017 version of the best Final Fantasy song of all time. Or close enough.
The Regalia CoNtestOnce we have our 64 candidates based on your submissions, the contest starts! You'll have a couple weeks to look over the 64 top tracks, and pick what you think the top five will be. People who make those picks will be graded for accuracy once all of the votes have been tallied and we have our winner. We'll compare each person's guesses to the final results, and the top three most accurate players will win prizes:
- A signed set of illustrations from Final Fantasy VI through Final Fantasy X by Sarah Childs at Gyzra Ink
- A Gyzra Final Fantasy VI illustration plus a bottle of Wiz' Energizing Elixir from Jones Soda
- A Gyzra Final Fantasy VI illustration
If you've got any questions, let us know now so we can make sure your picks get in. You'll get the chance to start voting in the tournament and making your feelings known about each matchup starting in October, so let's get started! Also let us know if you see song names that are not accurate or awkward - there're over 1700 of them in there so odds are we messed some up along the way!
I'm late by a day! I'm traveling, sorry. Yesterday's scheduled post continues as if nothing every happened...
As of 2015, I'd known life with CoN longer than I'd known life without it. That's also true of my wife, but this post isn't about her (sorry, dear!). There are still a handful of members active around the site for which this is also true, of course, but this post isn't about them either. Or me, come to think of it, so I'm a bit off the rails already.
What it is about is that, today, Caves of Narshe turns twenty years old. I long ago stopped making posts about CoNniversary every year, just as one tends to stop treating each new birthday as a huge event as they get older. Obviously, though, this is one of those big round numbers, and that makes it special. CoN, the little website that (sometimes) could, has made it through two entire decades of life, and you're here for it - whether you've been a visitor of the site since 1997, or just signed up today, I want to express my gratitude that you're here reading this now.
There's only so much I can reiterate about who we are as CoN, and what we did on the way to this milestone, and honestly most of you who have been around for a while have already read up on CoNHistory. But, since I don't write these messages as often any more, please indulge me just a brief recap! I never would have imagined CoN being what it is today when I first made the site public on a little personal AOL webspace twenty summers ago. I never would have imagined the site still existing now, never would have considered that it would cover eight games - and many more versions of those games - with walkthroughs and data, no concept of sharing Final Fantasy with my daughter via couch time together or taking the family to Distant Worlds shows. And, as I've said before many times, all of those fun, positive outcomes and my ongoing affection for the Final Fantasy series isn't really down to me; it's down to the Caves of Narshe and all of you reading this. I keep the site going for you all, and in return I've gotten a career and continued enjoyment of one of the most successful game franchises of all time.
It's astonishing to me that the site has lasted this long. It costs me money, it costs me time, and it makes me an annoyance to my family and friends - hopefully only sometimes - and all of those things are pretty decent reasons for cutting bait. For all that, though, it still thrills me to know that we do something that is beneficial in its own way to the gaming community at large. I love it on the rare occasions I can go to a con and get recognition in peoples' eyes when I mention that I represent this site. I love it when I see on another site, this time of year, people discussing how CoN is a great resource for Four Job Fiesta, or when I sit in on a Final Fantasy marathon and get plaudits from the audience for creating and maintaining the site. I love looking at our site traffic numbers and seeing that, even after twenty years and the general gulf developing between small communities like ours and the juggernaut social media hubs out there, that we still get lots of people enjoying what we have to offer. And that's why I'm still here, and I hope that the fact that I still enjoy being here and keeping the gears moving is a part of why you're reading this right now and will continue to visit CoN in the future.
The last five years might have seemed very slow for CoN in terms of the community and the growth of the site, but it's worth noting that we released coverage for Final Fantasy V on GBA (and mobile devices and Windows, though we didn't know it at the time) right before the site turned fifteen, and the same for Final Fantasy VI not long after. Last year, we rolled out our coverage for Final Fantasy IX, supporting the original release, mobile, and Windows, to boot. And we're still working, same as it ever was - we've got more content upgrades in the works, some new community contests and games, and hopefully even more to come. I'll be updating some plans for those things in the very near future, so watch this space - for now, come back to the forums and post to pick up a limited edition badge for your CoN account, just as we did five years back.
Today we're specifically rolling out some updates to the way things display for you, as we tend to do every five years or so. We've refreshed all the themes a little bit with some optimizations, and you'll likely notice that we've refreshed also the logo that we've had for a decade. For those who still use or miss the old themes, Tiddles has gutted many of them and redone them to be faster and more attractive in today's modern browsers, and we've implemented smaller changes throughout as well. This may not be the most exciting news for those of you among us who are not web developers, sure, but these updates look fantastic and more to the point prove that we're still here and we're still making things better. Further, in an effort to better engage our users on Facebook, I've included the forums directly on our Facebook page. Also, I've redone all of our CoN wallpaper section to match our new logo, and we now have a large number of new wallpaper sizes that are perfect for use on your lock screen of your phone or tablet, as well as some new stuff for today's most popular desktop and laptop screens. As has become custom for these big anniversaries, I've gone into more detail on this with new CoNHistory entries.
So, come celebrate with us at the forums or on social media. We're always here and ready to talk CoN, Final Fantasy, or anything else, and who knows? Maybe we will be for another twenty
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