Saturday Jun 23, 2007

Plazes 2.0

Plazes, which I wrote about here...  just updated, actually a couple of days ago,  their agent and presumably the back-end infrastructure and proved the Web 2.0 permenant Beta adage as the true as ever. Its an interesting problem with their architecture that they need to update the laptop clients. I hope they have improved their network update functionality as the automatic update failed to work on my XP client and the manual downloads did not become available for a couple of days. I was still able to use the phone to update the web site though so no catastrophe.

The web site functionality seems much richer so thats good.

To me one of the biggest outstanding problems is that they don't stimualte a self-help community. It would be easy enough to copy the games companies, or even Dell and Sun's developer forums. Its sort of interesting who does and who doesn't. For instance I can't find a Sony-Ericcsson official community site but have found an unofficial bulletin board for Sony Errison users. Flickr has a help site although I have only found two forums, New Ideas and everything else. My favourite of the official sites are the games sites of which Bioware Forums are a good example offering personalisation tools to allow people to track their own interests. Several of the Bioware fan forums use Invision's community management software. Two implementations that illustrate the strength of community and the personalisation capability within this tool  are Gibberlings 3 and Spellhold Studios, while RPG Dungeon uses Simple Machine Framework. As ever, you need to read the small print to discover which are free and open source. Both these solutions have RSS.

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Sunday Aug 06, 2006

Multiplayer Baldur's Gate at Home

If you're a fan of my del.icio.us RSS feed, you'll have noticed that I have been adding some links about Baldur's Gate. This is the first version released, and I finally got multi-player working in the home today, so I expect to be running through the game again.

I have discovered [at length] that Bioware used Microsoft's the "Direct Play" API in Direct X which won't permit local tcp/ip addresses to participate in a multi-player game. The simplest solution is to use IPX, which fortunately Windows XP still supports. For those looking to solve the same problem, I have documented my researches here... on my personal Wiki, although I have not yet documented my success.

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