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News from July 2005

CoN: Possibly Older than Some New Members?


Caves of Narshe Site News
I kid, I kid.

Sigh; hopefully people might have some chance of treading this today. Seems as if the recent problems, which were doing better when I woke up this morning, remain unresolved as I write. To everyone with a wooden desk, please knock upon it for a while as you read this. eh.gif

It gets a bit harder to write these birthday messages every year. It seems as if I have less to say, because not only have I said it all before, this year has honestly been a bit up and down for me personally in terms of this site.

But, hey, let's start out with the happy stuff, shall we? This is a celebration! Last year, I spoke at length of the massive stats the site put forth for 2003-2004. While we've admittedly been on the slightest downward trend since December of 2004, I'm happy to say that while we're not smashing our own records every couple months, we outstripped last year in pretty much every way possible overall. We served over 3.25 million pages this year, up nearly a whole million from last. We managed 162 GB of traffic last year - this time around, we upped that by over a hundred to a shade under 265 GB. When you consider that the entire site, forums and all, weighs in at only about 400 MB, you could say that the entire site, back to front, was visited at least five hundred times this year, well over once a day.

This year has been huge for us in terms of game coverage, adding not one, but two major game sections in the last twelve months (even though they'd been in progress considerably longer than that). On August 15, 2004 we launched our pretty hot Final Fantasy section, covering the original game both in its NES and Playstation iterations. Have no fear, for those of you who love the GBA cart as well, we're toying with some ideas to add that coverage as well. When or if it will happen, nobody knows, but the thought is definitely there. I have no qualms in saying that this section has proven itself to be the finest coverage of that game on the web, with extensive detailed information and all the high-end functionality you have come to expect from CoN. And, of course, we always have ideas to improve it but would also be willing to hear from you as well.

But that's just the start of it. In a big digital valentine's day card, Tiddles gave you his little squalling (...clouding?) infant of a pet project, the Final Fantasy VII section. Again, though this one took bloody years to get off the ground, I believe we smashed up what other people might call Final Fantasy VII websites. With massive automatic cross-referencing of related info from one page to the next, to an innovative, custom spoiler system, to (mostly, I hope) complete, hand-culled and -verified data, Final Fantasy VII at CoN is the culmination of our collective ability - for now.

It hasn't all been [SQL error: insert fruit of choice here] and cream this year, though. [Connection refused trying to access next comment] We've certainly had some rough spots in the last twelve months. We've had not one, but two web hosts flake out on us just a bit; we're sticking with the current one for now and hoping that the server loads stay as low as they have been most of the morning for me. While we've had a lot of new traffic at the forums, a good portion of it, let's face it, has been from the sort of people some of us worried would follow FF7 here. When half the posts in a forum lead themselves to no discussion whatsoever, I admit it's hard for those who are able to present themselves intelligently to participate. How many times can you answer a question about "lol whut's ur favorite armor plz pick from my pole," anyway? I hope the answer is "one or fewer."

I know the quality of discussion may not be pristine sometimes, these days. But we do have to think about how some of these new members may soon become quality once our collective, wonderful influence sinks into them. Beyond that, if we want to see good discussion around here, we all know how to do it, so let's just get started, eh? smile.gif But that means something to the members who may be reading this thinking, "I just started a poll like that the other day!" Well, there are two sides to that: we want you as members here and will try hard not to kick you out. But you have to put forward the effort too. We're looking forward to seeing what you have to contribute, and lousy polls about favorite "x" thing may not be all you have to contribute if you take the time to think about it. I've been slowly mulling ways to more easily acclimate the new folks to the way things run around here, and hopefully in the near future we can make things easier on everyone!

That said, it seems a good time to segue into what's coming up. First off, we are considering a restructuring of staff roles. We may well be looking for a few new faces to pitch in at different levels of involvement - Tiddles and I are discussing things in the roughly twenty minutes a day we're both online at the same time. We'll certainly keep everyone apprised of what's going on there. Additionally, we're working on upgrading older game sections to work the way FF1 and FF7 do, with the higher-level functionality that has been met with such enthusiasm from those sections. We're working out some forum enhancements for usability, particularly in the areas of getting help, visiting the main site, and reading the rules. We may even have a global software update in store down the line.

Before I finish, I again need to call out a few people who are helping us now, or have helped us in the last twelve months; these people, you can be sure, are ones who truly care about the community and want to continue to see it thrive. If you're one of those people, but aren't on this list, feel free to contact us and see where you might be able to help out! First, I have to start out with my staff, those who are still with us and those who have departed in the last year - Tiddles, Mr Thou, SSJC, Neal, Tommah, Phoenix et. al. And we have to say thank you to Elena and Hikaroo, both of whom have moved on from staffing positions but remain part of the community. Elsewhere, many thanks to those who helped out this year, like Hanyou, Mimic, Super_Moogle, Kappa, Pink_Nu1, Zero_Hawk, Zephir, Max, and the list can go on and on. Thanks a lot for taking some of the stress off of us and making it easier for us to enjoy working on the site day after day.

So, after eight years, we enter our ninth. We might even make it to a full, ridiculous decade. That is, assuming that the site still offers me what I need to keep caring for it the way I do. So be one of the people who keep me coming back, if you don't mind. It's not that hard. Post intelligently. Come hang out with us in chat, if you're brave enough. Offer us your uniqueness, and we'll keep coming back with the most unique Final Fantasy site there is. And feel free to buy me things or Paypal me money. I like things, and I like money.

Fiveone out. It's time for CoN UT2004.
Posted in: CoN Site News

Recurring Site Outages Information Within


Caves of Narshe Site News
A lot of people have noticed that the site has been having serious issues as of late. These outages will appear slightly different depending on web browsers used or other slight differences from user to user, but generally take the form of:
  • A "connection refused" error;
  • A blank white screen when loading the site;
  • Clicking a link on the page will act as if the link is loading, but will eventually stop without loading anything new;
  • A "timeout exceeded" error;
  • And, most often, a SQL error that results in data not showing up on a page (on the main site) or a white screen with lots of text you probably can't decipher (when on the forums).

I want you to know now that the reason for these problems is simple. I'm jerking all of you around for my own personal amusement.

No, not really. The real reason that the site is going down at random times is that for some reason there is a fluctuating server load on our the computer that holds all of the CoN data (as well as the data for my personal site and other projects I have going, so know from that I take this issue quite seriously). As you may know, CoN hosts on a shared server that, by nature, other sites "share." See where they get the name? As best as I can discern, one of the sites on the server with us is doing something that is causing the high load from time to time. It could be a matter of some web developer who simply doesn't know what he or she is doing, and has coded a script that overloads the CPU. It could be something more nefarious, like someone using an account fraudulently to bounce spam. It could be someone using the control panel to back up their site much more often than is necessary. It could be a lot of things, and unfortunately I am not in a position to research and resolve the problem myself - or else it would be done already.

It seems that the host has some idea about the source of the problem and the staff are actively working to resolve it. I don't have a better timeframe than that at this time. At this time, I have two options to proceed and am weighing them to see which will be most beneficial to us.

And that's about it. I just wanted to let you guys know that we're not leaving you out in the cold here. But there might be questions still, and I welcome those. I'll start.

Q: What are the two options you have?
A: Simply put, stay on this server or ask to be moved to another server on the farm. Each has pros and cons.

Q: Why don't you buy a better server?
A: Again, to put it concisely, money. I'd love to have a virtual private or total-private server, but those are quite expensive; generally they're two to three times the cost per month as what I pay now. Maybe someday fibreoptic will be nice and affordable and I can set up an *nix box in my home office, eh?

The floor is yours. Discuss.
Posted in: CoN Site News

Another Rare Fanart Update


Caves of Narshe Site News
This one was a beast, guys. It took a team of three people to get it going. Sorry it took so long, but the forty-six new entries should be worth it, right? Right?

We've got a wide array of long-time, prolific artists and CoN newbies this time around, too.




The voting is open, so check out the gallery and make sure you hit them all! This time around, let me also give special thanks to Mimic and Hanyou for their great help in preparation; also thanks to Mr Thou for testing help. Remarkably, all three, including Hanyou, managed to stay sober throughout the task.
Posted in: CoN Site News

Progress Report on Sakaguchi's Xbox 360 Titles


Xbox 360
RPG fans planning on purchasing an Xbox 360 or just even in the console's development might be slightly disappointed. Neither of former Square producer Hironobu Sakaguchi's Xbox 360 titles will be presented in a playable state at the upcoming Tokyo Game Show in September.

However, he says the games'--Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey--development is progressing smoothly. "The screen is starting to get developed, and we've been able to decide on the orientation of its graphics, and what kind of lighting and effects we want. We're currently in the process of making tons of [additional] graphics," commented Sakaguchi. "Lost Odyssey is progressing about the same. The characters are starting to move in the game screen little by little, and we're figuring out where we want to go with its graphics."

Much more information about the games will be released later in the year. Fans of character designs in Chrono Trigger and Dragon Quest VIII (as well Dragonball fanboys) should be pleased to hear that Akira Toriyama is behind the character design for both games. Neither is planned to be a launch title, however. One will ship within a year of the 360's launch, while the other will be released within two years.

Source: GameSpot
Posted in: RPG News

Radiata Stories


Square Enix has announced Radiata Stories, an RPG by Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile developer tri-Ace, will hit American stores on September 6 for the Playstation 2.

Radiata Stories take place in a world in which humans and fairies live together in harmony. The game follows the lives of Jack and Ridley, two who have become knights for different reasons. And to quote a really lame line from RPGamer, "When war breaks out between humans and fairies, Jack and Ridley must become much more than just knights. They must become heroes."

Apparently, the game claims to feature of 175 NPCs. The environment in Radiata Stories is fully interactive (like any good game should be, really). Players can kick objects, structures, animals, and people to discover secrets. Time also has an effect on the game's environment. The game's battles are fought in real time with party formation being important to combat strategy.

Here is a screenshot of the battle system in action.

Source: Source: RPGamer

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I'm finding myself a bit tired of Japanese RPGs as of late. So far this just sounds like the same old stuff. How about some real innovation from over there?
Posted in: RPG News
(7 Comments – Last by Kane)
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Caves of Narshe Version 6
©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

All fanfiction and fanart (including original artwork in forum avatars) is property of the original authors. Some graphics property of Square Enix.