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Topics - Databits

Art / Game Graphics
September 27, 2005, 08:00:35 PM
Updated Sep 28, 2005

Currently I'm working on a small tileset for a maze game for a class. It's kinda my first time doing tilesets, so I'd like a little feedback on the tiles I have so far. I also compiled the animation for the bomb to look how it would be rendered in the game. This is by far not a complete tileset. But I'll explain the game in a bit more detail at the end of the post. For now, here is the current images:



The game will be a turn based maze game. You start out at a certain point in a map and must solve the puzzle within a set amount of time and moves. There will be pickups within the maze to help you along the way as well as items to increase your score. The object of the game is to complete the puzzle within the set amount of turns while obtaining the highest score you can under the time limit.

Within the maze are doors that will be locked that require a key of their color to unlock and open them. When you unlock a door it consumes 1 key of the doors color and opens the door. You no longer need to unlock doors after the first time. There are also cracked walls in which you can use bombs to break open (basically like a key except bombs carry over to other stages and keys do not). Inside hidden rooms (behind cracked walls) could be any number of power ups and traps.

Last but not least there are traps within the mazes which cause damage to your HP. Most traps are not visible to a player unless a pickup provides them the location or they trigger it. There are pickups that will allow you to replenish lost HP, and your HP resets between stages (I may add a difficulty setting which will cause HP to not regen between stages).

Pickups within the game can range from any number of things. Some pickups are instant use on pick up, while others you can hold on to. Pickups will exist that increase the number of movements you have remaining, replenish time, replenish HP, detect nearby traps when used, etc...

Also, even though I don't want to... This game's gonna be written in Java, so I'll probably (eventually) have test Applets for people to play.
General Chat / Warning, Email Scam
September 15, 2005, 05:19:12 PM
Be warned, there is a new scam email going around that seems very authentic but isn't. A major red flag is the name Barrister Robert Peters and generally is something detailing you granting consent to allow him to present you as the next of kin to some random deceased person and their family.

This has scam written all over it, and I went straight to google for investigation. This name is linked to a ton of sites that point to similar email scams with the same name. The scams all are part of a Nigerian Money Laundering Scheme. So be warned if you recieve a similar email.

This is the email I recieved:
QuoteFrom The Desk of Bar. Robert Peters,
Great Roberts chambers Nigeria.
Plot 116/118 Dioba Port Harcourt
Rivers State.
Phone: 234-84-922-165

Dear Pearce,

This letter may come to you as a surprise, as we have not met before, but is with trust and believe that I write to you. I am Barrister Robert Peters, a Solicitor at Law. I am the personal attorney to Egr. William Pearce, a citizen of your country, who used to work with Chevron oil Company in Nigeria. On the 21st of April 2003, my client, his wife and their only daughter were involved in a car accident along sagamu express road Ondo State on way to Lagos From Port Harcourt. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives.

Since then I have made several inquiries to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful. After these several attempts, I decided to track his last name over the Internet, to locate any member of his family hence I contacted you. I have contacted you to assist in recovering the fund valued at US$9.5Million left behind by my client before it gets confiscated or declared unserviceable by the international bank where this money were deposited.

The said bank has issued me a notice to provide the Next of Kin or have the account confiscated within the next twenty-one official working days. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2 years now, I seek your consent to present you as the Next of Kin to the deceased since you bear the same last name with him, so that the proceeds of this account could be paid to you.

Therefore, on receipt of your positive response, we shall then discuss the modalities for the transfer of this fund into your account. I have all necessary information and legal document needed to back you up for the claim. All I require from you is your cooperation to enable us see this transaction through. I guarantee you that this will be executed under legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.

I would be grateful if this mail will be favoured with an early reply.

Best regards,

Bar.Robert Peters.
Knowhow Trading Post / Writing a PHP Templating System
September 14, 2005, 09:11:40 PM
I've decided to continue on writing the templating system for my site, as I progress I'll go ahead and post results here to help other people here who may wany to implement a similar system into their own site.

Currently hte system I'm working on can only do single level block element substitutions. If you are at all aware of PhpBB's template system, this is something I'm trying to implement and improve upon. Their system is capable of encapsulating arrays of data much further than single depth. I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to pull off something similar without incorperation a recursive algorithm, but I'm hoping I can.

Now if you're wondering what I mean by all this... take a forum for an example. Most forums are database driven, and if they use a template system, the template itself only defines what a single forum should look like. Thus, a single template would be used for each and every thread in a forum, or in the listing of the forums on the front page.

This is indeed an interesting concept. Since the forum is database driven, the database can control how many categories are on the front page, how many forums are in each category, etc... but it simply uses either a built in format or a template for each (which repeats with different data).

Now the way a forum template is usually set up is in data blocks. For instance, take the following code as an example:

Example Template Code:



Ok, so what's this mean?? I'll explain that in just a moment. But first let me set up what the database would contain. For this example I'll use the index of the forums. So the data in the database would be something like this:

the format here is " ID - Name "
  0 - Community
  1 -
  2 - Content

the format here is " ID - Name - category ID "
  0 - General Chat - 0
  1 - Knowledge Trading Post - 0
  2 - Announcements - 1
  3 - Applications - 1
  4 - Technical Support - 1
  5 - Hosting Q&A - 1
  6 - Art - 2
  7 - Writing - 2
  8 - Web Design - 2
  9 - Misc. Content - 2
Now this should be somewhat understandable. It's basically stating that there are 3 categories: Community,, and Content. Then there are 10 total forums. The General Chat and Knowledge Trading Post forums are part of the Community category. The Announcements, Applications, Technical Support, and Hosting Q&A forums are all part of the category. So on and so forth.

So now that we have a (basic) database structure, how does this apply to the template? Well that's where the template system comes into play with the block level elements. See, in your script you would create a template object, then assign it a template file to use (assuming the one above), create the template structure using the database data, and parse the output to the web browser. Seem complex yet?

So let's say I make a template object and assign it the template file example above. Then as the script loops through the database it would create a structure using data from it. After loading our database data the template would have a structure something like this:

Quote[template_file_name] => Array (
            [CAT] => Array (
                    [NAME] => Community
                    [FORUM] => Array (
                            [NAME] => General Chat
                            [DESC] => Anything not directly related to the web-hosting service or otherwise covered under the other forums.
                    [FORUM] => Array (
                            [NAME] => Knowhow Trading Post
                            [DESC] => We all have different talents and skills. Here's where you can help each other out. Need to find some obscure mediaeval literature links? Maybe someone else here majored in it. Wonder what it means when your car goes "woga woga woga" down hills? Someone might know a bit about cars. Perhaps you can code, but need some graphics for your site. Well maybe there's an artist that needs some coding done. Help each other out!
            [CAT] => Array (
                    [NAME] =>
                    [FORUM] => Array (
                            [NAME] => Announcements
                            [DESC] => Important things I might need to tell you.
                    [FORUM] => Array (
                            [NAME] => Applications
                            [DESC] => Want a site here? Then this is the place to start. Please make sure to read the "Instructions" post before starting.
                    [FORUM] => Array (
                            [NAME] => Technical Support
                            [DESC] => It's broke? Can't figure out where that file should be? Ask here (but search first!) Support for hosting-related issues only... ask about your iPod problems in the Knowhow Trading Post.
                    [FORUM] => Array (
                            [NAME] => Hosting Q&A
                            [DESC] => Primarily for discussions about policies, rules, and services.
            [CAT] => Array (
                    [NAME] => Content
                    [FORUM] => Array (
                            [NAME] => Art
                            [DESC] => General discussion for art and other "visual" media. Mainly for content hosted here, but open for anyone who wants to talk about the visual arts.
                    [FORUM] => Array (
                            [NAME] => Writing
                            [DESC] => A forum for the discussion of writing and related topics. Open to both members and non-members as a place to discuss stories, essays, and the technical aspects of writing.
                    [FORUM] => Array (
                            [NAME] => Web Design
                            [DESC] => For the discussion of web design and formatting problems including scripting, database use, etc. A place for general "How do I...?" type of questions not specifically related to services.
                    [FORUM] => Array (
                            [NAME] => Misc. Content
                            [DESC] => For content that doesn't fall under the other categories. Open to everyone.
So now that we have the data within the template object's structure we can load the template and parse it. Problem is, this is the part I'm having trouble on, because the array structure above is not technically possible in PHP (you can't have the same key names in an array for different keys). Of course you could write a template system that would have blocks and sub blocks, effectively being 2 layers deep... the problem is, when you run into a situation where you need to go deeper than 2 levels, it instantly becomes ineffective. Later tonight I'm going to convert a few things to include a numerical key base with the first element being the name of the block. I'm thinking that using a recursive algorithm is the only way I'd be able to pull off a dynamic system that can go multiple layers deep (due to restrictions that I can't actually write infinite lines of code doing things like array[0], array[0][1], array[0][1][12], array[0][1][12][2], ... this would make coding the system an extremely long process that would be a pain to change later on).

So at this point I'm open to suggestions as to how to encapluate multiple arrays within one another to create a structure. (another option would be to create a recursive class that would contain objects of itself, kinda like a linked list if possible in PHP).
Xepher, currently I'm working on a new version of my website. I know that under the kanar website, we were capable of setting up the subdomains such as, to point to another directory which we called "" without using things like php.

Now what I want to know, is if it is possible for me to write a server script (.htaccess) file in my public_html directory that would do just that.

I.E. would be directed to the public_html/ directory, as or would be directed to the public_html/ folder.

The only thing I've ever used .htaccess for was to prevent indexing of folders and set 404 error pages. So I'm not even sure if this is possible, but would rather not dabble in anything that could potentially screw something up for me or you.
General Chat / Are older vehicles actually worth it?
August 08, 2005, 06:48:06 PM
Ok so I have an older 89 Jeep Wrangler that I drive around, and recently I ran into a situation where I needed a part that it seems nobody in the entier country has. So really, is it worth buying a used vehicle anymore when even a dealership has discontinued parts for it?

Just so everyone knows, it was a PCV shutoff solenoid that I needed. Doesn't seem like anything major, but it also happens to be unique to this particular year, make, and model. :(
General Chat / Any other WoW players here?
July 22, 2005, 09:32:35 AM
I know that Xepher and I both play, even though on different servers, but does anyone else?