Hosting Changes Coming

I believe it was 1998 when I started my first web site entitled, ‘Oswald’s 6th Floor.’ A few months later I purchased a domain name and bought space at my service provider, The Loop. It was not long after that I outgrew my provider and was fortunate enough to stumble upon an individual who offered up FREE hosting with a fancy domain name, actionquake.com. My site was then linked from www.the6thfloor.com to 6thfloor.actionquake.com. Due to circumstances beyond my control and that of my friend who helped me with hosting I was forced to go elsewhere.

I landed at Planetquake.com, part of the Gamespy Network where I was happily hosted as part of their network. What made this relationship so great was the fact my updated news would appear on Planetquake, which helped me increase my traffic and followers to my site, which at the time was still focused on game mods such as Action Quake 2 and Urban Terror.

As all relationships do, I terminated mine with Gamespy and Planetquake, but left knowing their assistance had help me to grow my site. I ended up at IPOWER a number of years back as I wanted full control of all hosting, which this company provided at a relatively good price. After retirement from online gaming The 6th Floor was somewhat dormant, as I evaluated the situation and the direction I was going to take the site. Since I had very little knowledge of PHP, which helped power the last version of my site before switching to WordPress.com, I decided to focus the site on myself.

While gaming was such a big part of my life for some 10 years, there are still some followers, but for the most part I have moved in other directions. I now post articles about fantasy football, thanks to the guys at Fantasy Football Starters, as well as my radio hobby and operating activity as part of the Northern California Contest Club. Every now and then I touch on some of the other topics (home remodeling anyone?) as they occur.Recently I attempted to move from WordPress.com, where the blog is hosted over to IPOWER, but have been unfortunate. It seems there are functions that won’t work at a hosted site that work on WordPress.com. For example posting images in the right column, which I use for the 6th HamCAM shot. While I have not explored every option, there could be a plug-in that provides that functionality.I have considered leaving IPOWER this coming July and making the move to a recommended (by WordPress.com) host and running free of the constraints and prices that WordPress.com charge. One thing about many web sites are the ever increasing amount of storage space, especially if you post images, videos and more media files. I have a hard time swallowing the price of $49.97 for 15GB of storage space. Currently Blue Host and Dreamhost are the two providers who are leading the way.

While the transition was not all that smooth making the jump to WordPress late last year, I do hope to have no down time when I change hosts in the coming months. Thankfully I will be able to get the new site on line and running before it goes live, allowing a seamless transition.

Currently I am facing more problems, as I am nearly out of space at WordPress.com. All the images I once had on this, the current version of The 6th Floor are all missing or very limited, since I have wiped the IPOWER directories clean of any files. So, while the content is still there, you might experience some issues over the next few months until I am done with the housecleaning.

Clanbase Newsie?

As if I don’t have enough to do already with what little “free time” I have, I sent in an application to Clanbase after they posted looking for members to join their news team. I have an interview set up this morning (08PST/17CET) when I get home from work. In the past I have written for Planetquake back in 2000 and 2001 reviewing Quake II levels. Prior to that I was the “Head Monkey” in charge of the Action Quake Map Depot, where I was hired on after the reviews I wrote for The 6th Floor, when the site was devoted to Action Quake 2.

Since that time, I have tried to keep sharp when it comes to putting fingers to keyboard by posting news at Inside The Game as well as providing news and development notes for Urban Terror since 2000! I feel I am qualified to hold a position as a member of the news team with my previous experience and background.

I thought this would be a great opportunity since Inside The Game and Clanbase are both owned by the Global Gaming League. I have nothing but praise for Clanbase, for the way they conduct business and run their league. Hopefully the GGL will see similar success in the future, as they try to emulate the success that Clanbase has in Europe, over here in North America.To be honest, I am rather devoid of good, quality news topics. I was scanning the news wires last night, but there was nothing earth shattering to discuss. So, we will see what becomes of this interview. I do know I have many supporters at Clanbase, from Urban Terror, current and past to Medal of Honor, which I have just started supporting at Inside The Game.

Also, somewhat off topic, but thanks to djWheat I am now video capable at Inside The Game. What does that mean? It means I can provide streaming media for Urban Radio, Just Push Play and any game that I cover. For example, let’s use MOHAA, there is no TV program, like GTV. So using this technology you could actually watch the match live, as I provide commentary. I am more interested in using it for Urban Radio. Just what the community wants, to see my ugly mug on their WMP for 2 hours. Hahaha. Anyway, I think this is great news for anyone who is a gamer, as I take the next step in casting.

I am in the final stages of testing and configuring the audio. Figures that the audio would be giving me issues. The video is golden, was using it earlier in the week, streaming to the Internet and watching my stream on my wife’s machine. Hopefully by the weekend we will be ready to broadcast our first event.

Go Out and Play!

While eating dinner last night with my wife and my parents, the discussion turned to raising children and the amount of computer of console time children should have as opposed to going outside and play. I cannot tell you how many times I heard that from my mother growing up. But when I in my early childhood (born in 1969), it was the mid 1970’s moving quickly into the 1980’s and the computer revolution.

I was blessed to have a father who was into electronic gadgets. He was an amateur radio operator and it was not long after the introduction of Pong in 1975, our family owned a system of our own. Shortly after the introduction of the Apple][ + from a local computer store. Compared to today’s computer, the Apple was nothing, when compared to systems like the TRS-80 or the Commadore-64. The Apple was touted as a “learning computer.”

When it came to education, I was not the best student, like many others I played too much and sometimes did not take studying serious. But one advantage I had was our Apple. Teachers loved the machine, because at this time there were very few computers being used by schools. All my reports were typed using a new idea called a word processor. Needless to say, teachers were impressed with the formatting and the easy reading, which probably gave me a bit of an advantage when it come to the actual content.

While my priorities were still that of a child, play, computer and school, I did remain active. I was able to manage my time (maybe that was my parents managing it for me) growing up, never being allowed to sit in front of the Atari or Apple for ungodly periods of time. Although, Lemonade Stand was damned addicting to play!High school saw the introduction of a new player into my life, girls (no, not women yet…but close). My studies continued to slip, as sports took priority (a three sport letter man in high school) especially baseball. I continued to use the computer as much as possible, learning how to program (all hail BASIC), while writing a few games and actually using the computer more for school…ooh yeah and also to manage my football pool.

By my high school years (1983-1987) computers were here to stay. While the Apple was still a learning machine, the PC is where the computer game craze began. I would wander the aisles of stores looking for games and finding Apple had a very limited selection, it really wasn’t until the Macintosh came along that more (still very few by comparison) game were made available. I would wish that my computer would play that game.

Fast forward to 1998, this is where I got my first taste of PC gaming, introduced by a roommate playing Quake 2. I was take in, hook, line and sinker. Much of my life (age 29 now) was centered on my relationship, flying and my career. But that all changed with Quake 2. I spent many hours, including sleepless nights learning the game, tactics and more information that I could comprehend. It only worsened when I returned to Los Angeles and got hooked up with a weekly group at something called a “LAN party.”

The rest, as they say is history. I learned most of my computer knowledge at these parties, from gaming to hardware and software to drinking good Tequila! I enrolled in A+ Certification and received my MCSE and Novell certificate in order to start a new career (that never materialized). I started building my own PCs and helping others repair theirs. I got so involved in gaming, I wrote articles for web sites such as Planetquake, was in charge of the Action Quake Map Depot and even started my own web site called Oswald’s 6th Floor (probably the first known link out there).

What am I getting at here aside from a bit of history? Basically there is a difference of opinion, between myself and wife when it comes to allowing our child to play console and computer games. Unlike 30 years ago, where kids were relatively safe playing outside, acting out war scenes or sci-fi movies, playing in the dirt and with make believe guns, time have changed and parents are not so trusting to let their kids go play unsupervised.

I am sure my wife will agree that our son, Zachary will be introduction to computer games at an early age. I think we will also agree that consoles and computers will not rule his life and that hopefully with our guidance he will be active taking an interest in sports or something outside of computer gaming.

do think that the future is going to become more and more technical, which means computers are going to play a larger part in his growing up than they did mine. Learning, actually learning is something that will take place on a computer. I’m not talking about shooting people or killing monsters, but learning that will help him grow.

Hey, I didn’t turn out bad? And my nasty computer habit has been curtailed quite a bit over recent years, since I found out love was a powerful thing when I met and courted my wife. Hopefully our son will have a chance to be active and grow, with friends he can go out and play with, while learning and yes, playing games over the Internet with other gamers.

2003 Resolutions

Now that Festivus is over and the new year is here, it is time it straighten up and get my ass back into gear. The last few months have been…well, long and tiring. I think I peaked with the release of Urban Terror Beta 2.6. Of course, many supportive fans praised our work, while others continued to bitch. What else is new, huh? So much of November and nearly all of December I have not done a damn thing. For me, there is more than Urban Terror. I know many out there think SID we spend every waking moment at your beckon call. Fact is, we don’t. We each have priorities to attend to. Currently mine is trying to keep my job at the airlines, seeing as our company has gone into bankruptcy. So, I have not been my cheery, friendly self as I have in the past.

*sigh* But that is more less in the past, we can wipe the slate clear (sorta) and start fresh in January to try and provide some insight into Urban Terror, while bringing you reviews, rants and interviews. Unless you have run a web site, or two, or three, then you do not know how tiring and time consuming it can be. We all want to see fresh and new information posted every day, but sometimes (maybe that is often) it will not happen. Not sure what will happen in 2003 with this site. I know the focus will continue to be on Urban Terror. I am not closing the doors or ignoring the fact that for last few months of November there was not much added to the site. Hopefully we can see some new tutorials from the UT Community and a few reviews of the outstanding levels in the community.

I am not going to make any promises as to what I will bring each week. You have seen it before, I go fast and hard for a month or two and then hit a brick wall and nothing comes out. So I will try to keep things consistent. Who knows, maybe an assistant to help out is needed. It’s not like I do THAT much traffic a day, but being able to bring you 365 new things a year would be cool. We’ll see. I would like to spend time on the site, doing what I do best. Who knows, maybe I will FINALLY be discovered and offered a PR job at one of these gaming companies (Activision, Blizzard, Bungie, Raven, I am talking to you!!!). Until then, I will hold onto my little corner here on Planetquake.

That is really all I have right now. Just wanted to drop my first post of 2003 out here and hopefully those in the Urban Terror Community will continue to support the mod, as the development team looks to have another great year ahead of them. To all who visit this site, thank you for all your support.

BIG Poll Monday

Hope everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing Easter Sunday. Mine was filled with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and tamales. Great Easter Sunday brunch, I am sure. Spent most of the weekend attempting to install Windows2000 Pro onto a 45GB IBM HDD. Thanks to BladeKiller, RabidCow and Iain, for putting up with my bitching and complaining for over 12 hours! For some reason, I am not able to get my Soundblaster Live card working correctly. The Device Manager shows no conflicts, yet there is no sound being emitted from the speakers. So it’s back to square one I guess. Tried my current sound card, a Diamond MX300. Same results. So, if you think you have an idea, I am willing to listen to any and all ideas.

Now onto what you came here to see. I was able to obtain a copy of Urban Station thanks to PointyGit. While I have only spent a few minutes on the level it is quite an impressive level. Still found a handful of problems spots that are easily corrected. I am sure this will be a post-Beta 2 Urban Terror level you will be playing in the near future. The most impressive area in this map has to be inside the station. The ceilings are quite breathtaking. Here are a few bonus shots from Urban Station being used in build_10 of Beta 2:

[SHOT #1] | [SHOT #2] | [SHOT #3]
Spoke to NRGizeR yesterday. It seems among his work on his upcoming levels for Beta 2, we is also beginning to put together tutorials for mapping for Beta 2. You have seen and most likely used his work which can be found here on The 6th Floor. While the details are still a bit sketchy, these tutorials will probably focus on the new entities, functions and surface parameters mappers can user to give their levels a more realistic feel to them. Also expect to see some sample maps to work from. More details as I receive them.

Another mapping question which has been touched on before, but I feel the need to bring it up again. Scale, you know how anal I am about getting the correct scale in a map. Level developers are always asking, “How do I determine scale in QERadiant?” The answer is simple. Check out this link which is available from Claudec on Quake III Arena Player Specifics. It should answer most all of your questions regarding measurement and size for your mapping pleasure.

Completed another review yesterday, which debuts today over at PlanetQuake, as the Quake 2 Level of the Week. While, many of you are not interested in the content, the level did feature some stand out texturing from [H F X]. If you are in dire need of quality textures, check out the work from evil_lair. For those who dabble in creating their own textures, evil_lair has some good tutorials to help you out.

The results are in from the last Bi-Weekly Poll. While I am not one bit surprised at the top answer. We should have thought it through better, than any answer with ‘Counter-Strike’ or “1337 liek jeff K’ will always win. Well, check out the rest of the answers and take the new 6th Floor Poll which begs the question, “What do the members of Silicon Ice Development do in their free time?