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TALE's OOC development blog for the site

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Those of you who are not developers or at least technically inclined may want to stop reading. HERE BE DRAGONS! ... kind of.



As a developer, I'm always looking for ways to be lazy / efficient. Especially when hard drive space fills up fast and you want to reuse something in multiple projects, but then you have to manage multiple copies or versions in multiple places. This gets even more difficult if your thing doesn't have a package manager, repository, or build system of some kind to help save time and sanity. Recently, I've stumbled across Symbolic links, and they are working out pretty well. There is an article on TESTED that can explain it better than I could if you are curious:



Timezone Clocks Added

Timezone differences. A number of us have gotten used to working with them since our group spans the United States and beyond!

But still, some times we don't get it right. And when that happens, it can really ruin someones day if they are too early, or worse, too late!

It isn't fancy, but I put together a little page that should make it easy to check where the time zones are at any given point in the year. It even accounts for those pesky cases where Daylight Savings does not apply.

What do you think? Do you find it helpful? or are you the kind of person who won't end up using it? Does it no go far enough?

For now, you have to be logged in to see it: http://www.tale-ffxiv.com/timezone-clocks.html/


It was brought to my attention today that the custom sidebar blocks (our New Content, donation, and Teamspeak list blocks) take up an awful lot of space at the top of the sidebar.

I considered re-ordering them, but those three blocks have to stay together as one single "group". Moreover, we really want to have the New Content and donation blocks at the top.

So what we did instead, is simply make the Teamspeak list (which is the biggest offender of available sidebar space) collapsible. The Teamspeak list is still there if you would like it, but each individual user now has the ability to collapse it and free up space on the sidebar.


Our registered user list was getting VERY VERY LONG. So I cleaned house a bit.

Registered users who have not visited our site since 9/1/2014 have had their accounts removed. (If this was you, feel free to re-register and get your access back! :D)



It's probably about time we made an entry here to talk about things we're doing, and have done, with the site!

Previously, all of the site stuff was done by Aveline. When she stepped down from her post as Doyenne, the officers and I let a lot of site-related things fall by the wayside, including this blog. But now, we're finally getting to those things.

Now, we control the horizontal. We control the vertical. Do not attempt to adjust your screen. :P

Since the last entry, we've been changing a lot of things! I think a bulleted list is in order.

  • IPBoards has been upgraded to 3.4.7, the latest official release.
  • We had several additional board themes, but these themes haven't been upgraded to the latest release, so we thought it best to just set everything to the default IPBoards theme. (The IPBoards Mobile theme is also active.)
  • We have switched our hosting service from Eleven2 to HostGator. Eleven2 was giving us some serious lag issues, but HostGator has thus far performed swimmingly.
  • HostGator is now also handling our DNS name registration. "adventureleague.net" has been deprecated in favor of "tale-ffxiv.com".
  • We have gone over all of our existing links to change any references to adventureleague.net to tale-ffxiv.com. (There may still be some out there -- if you spot any, please let us know!)
  • Ownership of the site and all things TALE has been transferred from Aveline to Rikitiki, including our Steam group and our TeamSpeak and Minecraft servers, with the notable exception of our social media accounts (Facebook / Tumblr / Twitter), which have been assigned to Tahrara.
  • In the process of doing all this, we noticed that we were paying $15.99 a month for a Minecraft server that we don't get nearly $15.99 of use out of every month. So when I noticed that our hosting provider offers a 4-player-limit FREE option, we jumped right on that.
  • We made a pass through the site looking for references to the site rules, and pointed them to one single page. Previously, there were at least three different versions of the rules depending on where you clicked. :P
  • The TALE Handbook has received a much-needed overhaul.

In addition to all of this, our PayPal account, and the funds therein, have been transferred from Aveline to Rikitiki. For the curious, we have paid HostGator for another year and a half (expires in November 2017), and we have enough to pay InvisionPower through April 2016. While we have (and anticipate) no other expenses at this time, I would be remiss in my obligations were I not to point out that there is a donation link on the main forum page, and we welcome any and all donations from our members. :smile:

Finally, just today we have placed a big TALE logo on the front page in place of the news/words/articles page that had been there previously. This is a temporary fix -- hopefully we'll get something more permanent there before long -- but we realized that none of the news and articles and such had been updated in ages, and that just looks terrible. So: TALE compass rose. :D

Please direct any questions or concerns you might have regarding our site to me or Claus. Thank you!


Site upgraded!

Good news: We've upgraded to IP.Board 3.4.4, which primarily was released to fix a few bugs. This means that people using Chrome with certain themes should be able to hit Refresh without breaking the boards!

Bad news: Our main TALE theme is refusing to upgrade properly to the newest version, so it might look a little weird or have some missing images for some of you. I'll fix it either tonight or tomorrow, but I'm pretty busy at work today so it will be fixed at the earliest sometime this evening.

If it's really bothering you in the meantime, I recommend you switch to the Pulse or IP.Board themes. Thanks for your patience!


Teamspeak AFK automation

In addition to the forums receiving a major update today, Teamspeak 3 also got new stuff! Starting immediately, anyone logged in to our Teamspeak server who has been inactive for more than 30 minutes will be automatically moved to the AFK channel. No need for mods to shuffle people around!



Hey guys, just wanted to let everyone know that I've finally updated our Tapatalk info (thanks Darby for the nudges! ;) ), so if you have an iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, or Android phone and you want a forum app, Tapatalk should have TALE's forums listed. Let me know if you experience any problems!

The forums also have their own mobile version that should work on most phones (including the much-forgotten Windows phone T_T), so even if you don't want to use Tapatalk, you should be able to use our forums on your smartphone or tablet. In fact, the current default skin was designed with tablet use in mind.

Thanks guys! Happy browsing!


New Themes

I'm working on two sister themes for the site, both based on the MAXX Light skin. Currently, they're up and running so people can use them right away if they want, but I have more customization in store for both.

Both the themes, "Tyrian Adventure League" and "Adventure League of Eorzea Max," have user-customization options. In the bottom right corner of each skin, you'll see a little wrench & screwdriver icon. Clicking on that will pull up a color picker that will let you change the color palette of the forums to whatever you like. The colors are rather muted, so you won't get a very drastic change. You can also select a color-changing pattern background to match, or you can pick from four different pre-loaded backgrounds.

I tried to select a variety of beautiful images for both themes. In the future, when I've got more time, I plan to add a greater selection of wallpapers to choose from and keep them regularly updated with new stuff (maybe some seasonal ones!)

You can also select your own wallpaper of whatever you like, by entering the URL where the image is hosted.

All of the custom options you pick for these skins are saved to your cookies, so if you access the forums from a different PC, or if you clear your browser cache, you will need to re-customize the skins to your liking.



For those that strictly view only the forums and calendar of the site, I'd like to direct your attention to our new Homepage. You can get there from the navbar up top by clicking 'Home.' Yes, gone are the days of the WordPress blog that no one read! We will continue to post news articles, op eds, and stories via the 'Articles' feature. There's also a nifty button that lets moderators promote any forum thread into an article as well, so if you'd like to write an article, just post it into its own thread and ask a mod to promote it to the appropriate category.

You all may have also noticed some members appearing on the boards with a red name. These people are members of our GW2 TALE branch, and we've given them red names to indicate that they primarily play in Tyria, not Hydaelyn. There's really no other reason for the color, aside from red is pretty and it goes well on both the light and dark themes.

I've also set up new profile options, so that you can set a Guild Wars 2 race and hometown option to your profile, if you so desire.

Stay tuned for more updates to the site!


I noticed our general off topic board, the Back Porch, had an unusually high number of sticky threads. Stickies should really only be used for things that we want to draw the eye to, and when a board gets more than, say, 2 or 3, the point of stickies becomes lost. I condensed links to huge off-topic threads into one Back Porch directory sticky.

In the future if you think a thread should be included in the off-topic directory just let an admin know and we'll take a look.

Thanks guys!


New forum category

Since we've increased the number of games we collectively play by a handful, I decided it was high-time we made a separate category entirely for the extra games we play. If a category loses popularity and becomes abandoned over time, I'll remove it and move all the posts to our archives section.

Currently we now have forums for Minecraft, Guild Wars 2, Diablo 3, and a tabletop gaming forum.


Shiny and Clean

Rolled out a fresh wiki for us for 2012! Arturia has saved a bunch of the pages and stuff but people will need to upload new user pics for their entries. More updates to come--rebuilding the wiki is still a work in progress but we hope that you will all enjoy it much more in the new format.



I know the Great Buffalo dark theme was popular with many of you, and so I'm sure many TALE members will be happy to know that Skinbox, the designers of said theme, are working hard to upgrade all their forum skins to be compatible with IP.Board 3.2.

The forums have undergone many, many changes, that you can read about it on the developer's blog here.

If anything is not working for you, please let me know and include what browser you're using along with a detailed description of what your issue is. I can forward it on to tech support if I can't fix it myself, and we'll work on getting it straightened out. :)

Thanks guys, and enjoy the new boards!


Added an Archives sub-forum to the Notice Board. This may or may not be turned into a regular old forum, instead of a sub-forum, since it encompasses more topics than just what's in the Notice Board.

In related news, I removed the Pathfinder Game Den subforum, since that project seems to have been abandoned before it ever got underway. All posts from the Pathfinder subforum were moved to Archives.

I've also revamped the forum descriptions, so you all may want to take a look at the forum index again sometime. Over the past few months, a lot of questions have come up over where to place a certain thread or discussion, and it seemed a good time to clean up the forum descriptions. Back when the forums were first created, we had a vague idea of what people would want to talk about, but every guild is different and we couldn't tell exactly what would work best for our forums. Over time, we have been able to get a better idea of the things people post and the things that generally go without mention, and so accordingly I've been able to create more helpful forum descriptions.

Hopefully this will result in less overall confusion and fewer moved posts!

EDIT: Also fixed Light & Dark themes so that the Home button and Wiki button are both now visible from the top nav bars.


Forum Updates Galore

Last night I ran some updates to the forums, chat room, calendar, and gallery. Most of these were small bug fixes or otherwise hardly noticeable changes for users, but there are some large updates as well: namely, the gallery.

I will continue to make updates to the forums throughout the next few weeks, including new forum skins, blog skins, and a few tweaks here and there.

All of these changes come as preparations for Invision's big forum update, IP.Board 3.2.0. If you are curious as to what will be changing when they release the full update, check out this ongoing list here:

What's new in IP.Board 3.2.0.

I am really excited for many of these upcoming changes, especially the calendar revamp! For those of you that absolutely hate the new gallery look (I am currently among you), please hold tight while I look into skinning/tweaking options for us.


Character Sheets

Something some of the officers have been working on/exploring the options for is standardized character sheets for all TALE members. The idea behind them is to have a reference sheet with character information that can be easily used for RPed events that don't take place easily within the game mechanics.

For instance, during a recent exploration of TALE's basement, the character Azeiel wanted to use lockpicking to open a door. Unfortunately, FFXIV doesn't have a "lockpicking" ability yet, so we had to improvise in the moment with a roll for her to use in determining if she picked the lock.

Another example: Diyne's character is claustrophobic, and has a hard time dealing with confined spaces. Again, FFXIV does not care what hangups our characters have, and does not compute for things like claustrophobia in determining the outcome of an attempted move.

We are still ironing out what sort of system would be best to use for TALE's character sheets, but as we progress we will be keeping you all up to date. Comments and discussion on these blog posts are welcome, but for everyone's sanity, the ultimate creation of this character sheet system will be left up to the officers. "Too many cooks in the kitchen" and so on, so forth.

We have a lot of ideas as to how we can use these character sheets in the future. One thing that seemed to go over well in the chatroom discussion: a sparring match board. With everyone's character sheets set up and a combat system in place, we could effectively pit our characters against each other in friendly sparring matches, and keep an ongoing record of the top 10 somewhere on the website. ^^ Maybe even prizes? Hmmm!


Front page updated!

Changed a lot. Layout, nav bar, graphics, so forth. There are still some more changes in the works, the most important of which being I'd like to set up an easier way for visitors and members to browse our blog archives.


In order to help combat the spambots registering on the site, I've added a series of FFXIV-oriented questions and answers for new registrants to answer to prove they are humans (humans that have basic knowledge of the game, no less). This worked really well on our old boards, so hopefully it works well here, too.

If you guys can think of some good ones, PM me and I'll add them to our questions database. I've got basic ones so far like "what is the most common color of chocobo?" and "Name one of the three starting city-states in Eorzea."


In the works:

Full site theme revamp

Create a matching theme to encompass the front page/forums/wiki

Re-upload our long-lost chocobo favicon -- updated, though I changed it to our guild crest instead of the chocobo. Let me know what you think and if it needs work.

Addition of new wiki material (on-going process)

>> TALE lore

>> IC slang page

>> Fiction books/non fiction for the Librarium (Morrowind-style texts for flavor)


Examine front page categories/purpose

Examine forum category usefulness, possibly revamp

Potentially add new FFXIV-themed skins to the blogs and forums

Examine use of Silverlight and HTML5 in site's design

This post possibly to be updated this week.

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