News: Why I left EQClassic

Friday, September 30, 2011

For anyone who was following recent events, you may think you know why I'm off the team now. You however would be wrong. I choose to leave, and did so for several reasons that have piled up. This post may be long as I'm unsure how much I have to say about everything, and I intend to be as thorough as I can.

I'll start with why I joined in the first place. It was a time during the second era of this project, near the end. A cease and desist was issued to the website, and the website and forums for the project were closed down. The project however was kept on life support through an IRC channel. But even there it was barely hanging on due to most of the devs halting work on the project. Only really one dev, the newest, was active at the time. That was Yeahlight. He was doing great work in a hefty amount then. He begone to not like the control the inactive devs seemed to try to maintain on the project when they weren't even contributing, and begin planning to take the project reigns over himself, by force if needed.

At this time in my impatience for the project, I begin to wish I could help in some way. I did have c++ experience, but knew my experience would be to lacking to contribute directly to the server source myself. With past projects of mine, I realized my limits to late, and learned from it. So since then I have always tried to know what I can and can't do. After fiddling around with my EQTrilogy discs out of boredom, I realized a way I could help. I've used EQ emulators before, and knew all of them bypassed the patcher. To me, while not the most important thing, it was a part of the classic experience that would be discarded. For legal reasons a patcher for a emulator server doesn't sound like a good idea off the bat, but I realized it would be helpful for at least a few important, legally manageable files. Enough so that a patcher replacement was a good idea. Even this was a bit beyond my abilities at the time. But I figured if I failed, oh well. Nothing lost. No one was depending on me, and I wasn't in the way of anyone else. And fail or not, I should learn something.

I wrote the patcher, and things went very well. I got a few bored alpha testers at the time to help test it so I could refine it, and it proved to have potential. Enough so, that with my talks with Yeahlight he seemed to be interested in officially supporting it with the EQC project. Something that I of course would like very much for my project. But I was wary of joining a team still. I'm used to projects on my own. And I'm used to a certain amount of respect. An amount I would need from the community and other devs. Whether I deserved that amount of respect or not, it was required. I'm not interested in being just another lackey. I've had issues with lack of respect in team situations in my past, and knew enough to just avoid such things. I would need that respect to join, and Yeahlight gave it to me. He treated me as an equal, and appreciated my project contribution. This was exactly what I needed to join him, so I did.

It wasn't his project, it was our project. We helped usher in the 3rd era of this project. Sadly for my contribution, my ideas started running out, so progress slowed. And soon after the alpha testing group was disbanded for the most part. Further putting my project on the shelf until it was needed. I was given server source access without asking for it, and clearly stated that while I may try and contribute something here and there, don't count on it at all. I did pick some code to try out, put several hours into it refining it and doing my best to figure out bugs with it. But I just wasn't that interested in it. So I was forced into inactivity myself, with nothing to do. I think I then took time away from the project, and started playing games more in my free time. In that time off, I lost server source access, saw new devs added to the team, but remained uninvolved other then just submitting what I worked on to Yeahlight for him to add to the source for me. Something of which I waited a long time and which he never did.

Fast forward now to a couple months ago. It has been so long since I worked on a programming project, that I was getting more active in my talks with Yeahlight and actually trying to find something else to work on. We couldn't find anything due to either lack of interest for me, lack of the project as a whole being ready for it, or both. And never once did I ask, or was I asked about working on the server. As far as my end goes, I still wasn't interested, and still figured it might be to much for me. But I was considering it in case I was asked is all. For now I just wanted to see what I did work on and spend so much time on, added. Still though, for whatever reasons, Yeahlight never got around to doing that for me. I decided I would ask this newer team member I only just recently met, and see if he would do it for me. Something I now regret deeply. I asked Harakiri. He seemed kind enough to do it. But his kindness soon turned insulting when rather then add my code he just decided my work sucked, and rewrote it himself claiming "You did all the research, that's the hard part. So no big deal.". I did no research on the code. It was all experience. The "hard part" was that code I invested my time in. Several hours of work. 1 1/2 - 2 years waiting, and its just tossed in the trash? Yea, of course I'm going to be pissed. This was my last straw with this guy and a big one, as in just a couple short days of knowing me, he had insulted me several times prior. I don't know what is with the guy, but he just seemed to not want to like me from the start. He seemed to be posturing and trying to show his ego and rank or importance to me in every dealing, in a likely effort to get me to kiss his ass like he views everyone else as doing. I never insulted him. I gave him respect, and acknowledged he was a better programmer then me, and everything I could to get off on the right foot with him. But that all failed it seems. After the issue with my code submission, I no longer have any respect for the guy. That's enough about him for now though. Moving on...

I kept my distance from that guy for the benefit of the project. And continued on my quest to find something to contribute to the project. Well, part of why I stayed gone so long was due to the state of the community. IRC was dead, and the forums were far more dead then they should be, and getting worse. The IRC channel issue was mostly resolved when Sven setup a new channel. I decided to start figuring out ways to help the rest of the community around the forums. Community is something important to me, as I expect any classic EQ fan to understand. But forum community's are something I take fairly serious. They often require a delicate balance, and can be difficult to handle properly. I've heard from several people who wanted to join the EQC community, but found over moderation, and general strictness of the forums to be repulsive. That's something I hate to hear. In my time back evaluating things myself, I was beginning to see exactly what people were talking about. Certain mods like Harakiri and perfect would to strictly enforce the letter of the rules, and lock down threads before they barely even started. The rest have sunk into a rut where they have been encouraged to over-moderated things themselves. Rules are made for a reason, yea. I helped make most of them there, and as such agree with them. But a mods job isn't about locking down threads and dealing with troll. Its about helping a forum community prosper and thrive. This is where the balance comes in, and over moderation can hurt just as much as under moderating things and letting trolls and spammers run wild. The rules are there and should be followed, yes, but they shouldn't always be staring everyone in the face. Rules are rules for posters, but should be seen as guidelines by mods who better understand the intent of those rules. Rule breaking should be evaluated on a case by case basis, with a more dynamic situational touch only a human can understand. Other wise, just make a massive list of banned text, keep less moderators, and be done with it. Anyway, this is all my opinion based on experience and observation. And a desire to encourage more posting. Right or wrong, its a matter of opinion. Fact is though the community is stagnant, and I wanted to help. An idea that anyone can agree and and support.

Tossing around ideas for a few weeks, the best thing I could come up with was a minor boost in the fun of the forum members, by getting whatever very few that would be interested, together and playing WoW on a emu server. Something approachable by anyone, as its free to play and you can freely obtain the game client files online from legal sources. And it won't spoil the classic experience everyone is waiting for, by going back to EQ in another form prematurely. It was a good idea, and after debating it for a while, posting it, things getting off topic, then re-posting it. Things blew up and my time with EQClassic started circling the drain. Apparently one whiny troll, and a ego centric power hungry dev have more respect then me now. In fact I come to find out I may never have had the respect I thought I had, and Yeahlight just lied to me when I joined him. He considered me just a bit player. Someone that just spits out some tools for him and that's it. I lost my mod privileges, which in itself is a clear sign of not having the respect I thought I had and was told I had when I joined. And just begins to tell the story about what this team has become, and where the project is likely heading.

I in no way wanted to be a part of a team like this where I'm not respected as an equal, or at all. And I in no way want to be a part of a project in which the goals I care about so much, is heading further and further into a direction of increasing damaged community and possibly even failure, and not being able to even attempt to stop it myself. I was lied to and tricked years ago, or it's just that the Yeahlight of today isn't the same person anymore, instead being replaced by a much worse one. I'd have never have joined the project in the first place had this Yeahlight been the one I knew back then, nor if I had known the directions things would end up heading, and with me powerless to help.

I can go into detail, and argue lots of points I've made here. And in some cases already have elsewhere. In the end its all pointless. Peoples views, opinions, and positions are unlikely to change. The only thing that changes anything is time and choices. I choose to leave. That will be good for me. Possibly in some ways good for classic EQ fans. Perhaps time will help improve other things. From my end, it's not impossible for me to go back. But from either end, its probably seen as unlikely. Lets see how kind time is to this project. So far, its had a lot of ups and downs. And will likely have more in the future.

For me, I'll continue on without the project as I did before. Programming is my hobby. I do it when/because I have fun with it. I have nothing major planned right now to help fill the void of the EQC Launchpad project being placed in its coffin. But I'm almost always looking and thinking.

Will I play EQClassic if/when it is done? Who knows. It's certainly less likely then it was. All I can say for sure for now is that, perhaps things are working out for the best for me. Maybe I can put more hope/faith in EQNext or something more modern/new rather then holding onto a game that was lost almost 10 years ago.

R.I.P. EQC Launchpad.
R.I.P. EQClassic?



Reminder. If you have comments or wish to discuss any on this with me, I am no longer monitoring that forum or my PM box there as I'm trying to make as clean a break as possible. Comments should be posted here if you intend on me reading them. And I can be reached through IRC and IRC under the name DarkAkuma. And in certain cases may be willing to establish email or MSN contact.

News: Goodbye EQClassic

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'll keep this post short, and post a more detailed post in a couple days after I have had time to think things over. For now, in short, I have left the EQClassic project. I'm mostly posting this now so people have a place to post comments about the situation if they wanted to.

For anyone who wishes to still remain in contact with me. Of course I'll still be available here. I intend to remain in the IRC channel, at least for now. And my old Z-Net project channel linked on the side. I am still playing WoW on a emu server, and would still welcome anyone who would want to to join me (you can check out the guild blog here for more info. Dark Empire). And while I'm not active on it at the moment, I have several characters on the ProjectEQ server (Uberest, Narcoleptic, Shibi are my main 3 you would find me on).

Also, be advised, I am now logged out of my account on the EQC forums, and won't be logging back in and able to check PM's there. Any sent to me there will remain unread.

Release: EQInside Console

Saturday, September 24, 2011

EQInside Console is just a console based program to manage PFS files, or more commonly known as s3d or pak. It makes use of EQInside.dll to do this, so it has all the features of that plus a couple extra.

I wrote this app shortly after starting EQC Launchpad. I mostly needed its functions for the launchpad itself, but felt it would be nicer to release it more publicly due to the lack of any such thing that can be used with command line params and .bat scripting. Actually I could have just had avoided writing such an exe for the launchpad to use, and instead just use the EQInside.dll itself, but felt due to some of the features I was going to make, it would be better to make them less "behind the scenes" so it's easier to tell what is happening with the PFS files regarding legality. One of the features I needed, and added into EQInside Console was creating a empty archive to work with and put files in. I didn't want to change any existing PFS files at all, and wanted it to be know as much as possible that any PFS files the launchpad was changing were created by the launchpad itself.


EQInside Console

News: Not Much

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I haven't really worked on anything worth talking about this past week, so no real news. As such, I'll probably start posting the more random things I've made over the years, to fill in the void. One should be up in a few days.

I'm still playing wow on the emu server Emberflame. I made a guild (Dark Empire) there now too, for anyone to join from here or the EQClassic community. If your interested in playing a free, least buggy, as close to retail like version of cata era wow, then drop on by. Setup is easy. Just remember to sign up with my invite code. Link is the "AstralWoW" on the side.

News: CPU Issues and Games

Monday, September 12, 2011

Las Vegas weather sucks some times. Its mostly known for its heat, and wind, But yesterday in the span of 30m it went from somewhat sunny, to completely cloudy, to thundering, to a sudden heavy rain, to a wind driven sideways hailstorm. Just lasted long enough to knock out our power for a few hours. Seems when our power went out, my comps PSU kicked the bucket. Spent most of my evening yesterday after the power came back on figuring that out and getting my comp working again with borrowed/old parts. Borrowing a PSU for now, but the PSU doesn't have the power connector for my video card, so I'm having to use my old card for now. With all this, and all the comp stuff I'm fixing to buy soon, I probably won't be working on much to soon. Anyway...

I haven't been working on much. Just more tinkering with blog layouts, in hopes of getting setup a base custom layout of my own that I can use to make a few other themes I've been thinking of.

Mostly I've been getting bored and wanting to play something. I was playing EQLive some on the Fippy server, cashing in my 40 free days at the last minute. But I lost interest in that. Newbie exp rate for my Wizard seems way more harsh then when I played on live. I leveled up a wizzy at the start of luclin era, so exp may have been faster at that time. But I also leveled up a wiz into the teens once or twice in the velious era, and a sk to around 10 in the kunark era. So when I don't think the exp rate is correct, I may be right. Granted I've also played on the ProjectEQ emu server (8 level 65's, most near top end gear) which is faster, though not much faster then live. And I've played WoW. After WoW, anything slower will seem extremely slow.

I haven't played WoW since Dec 2010, more like Sep or Oct 2010 since after that I just paid and played to finish out the year long achievements. I got so tired of it, I didn't even want to talk about the game. Guess I've finally had enough time away, and have been getting somewhat interested in it again. Just the time doesn't seem to be right for now. Have to either pay $95-$105 to end up on a PVP server I don't in anyway want to, or $55-$65 to stay on a server in which I don't know anyone I care about. For me, my fun in that game is heavily reliant on family or friends. Both options just aren't appealing, as their just to much money for something I can't guarantee I won't quickly lose interest in.

To satisfy my interest in playing WoW again, I decided to look into WoW emus. Never played one before, and never seen one mentioned enough to know the quality. Heck, I didn't even know if they ever got off the ground in terms of development because the few times I've heard about them, was when they were getting shut down. I was surprised to find that there seemed to be tons and tons of packed servers. But that's just the phony aspect meant to trick you. In actuality there's only like 1 server cluster with packed servers, and they basically all suck due to insane exp/gold/rep/etc rates that make an already easymode game easier, and custom content I don't give a crap about, and in fact will most likely make my experience worse.

I considered, and even tried a vanilla WoW server. Claimed to be the best, but was PvP. Tried another that claimed to be more about accuracy, but that had 3 people playing on it. I never played past 42 in vanilla, so missed a lot of content. Playing that, or cata would be interesting to me right now as I haven't played them. Most emu servers are using patch 3.3.5, so stuck in the WotLK era, which I've had my fill of. I found the best cata server I could, and started some chars there. 1x rates, PvE, little if any custom content. Certainly none staring you in the face in the form of NPCs in the newbie area in shameless attempts to get you to vote the server up on server ranking lists. I understand the desire to get votes, as it helps you and others in the end by drawing in more players, but that's to much.

Server I'm playing on is AstralWoW Cataclysm. Doesn't seem perfect, but good enough. I don't know how much cata content it has. I think of a lot of the quests you level up with from 1, and maybe a few instances. For it you can currently patch to blizz servers, then just modify the realmlist and run the astralwow exe.

If this is something you may be interested in, and you may seriously try and level a char up, please sign up using this link with my invite code. Helps me out as you level by giving me some virtual badges, so to speak. I've been using what I get to buy heirloom gear for my Rogue there. Still have tons more to go.


News: Slowing Down Again

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Mostly what I've worked on this past week has been the blog layout. CSS was very unfamiliar to me so it's something I needed to get experience with. And with the images, I just needed to sharpen up my photoshoping skills a bit, and perhaps develop more. I've done some tweaks here and there since my weekend post, but that's it.

Still, with that done, I'm still not to interested in working on the Z-Band server scripts anymore atm. A project you don't plan on releasing can only hold your interest so long, at least with me. And I have to many unreleased projects now. I'm still trying to figure out something to work on, that I can/will release. I don't have many ideas though.

I was considering working a little more on EQC Launchpad again but due to recent developments, the launchpad project is even more dead then before. I'll have to wait to find out if some ideas pan out that can keep it alive. But until they do, I'm starting to consider the project officially heading towards the canceled shelf along side Z-Net. I'll give it sometime though, but if that ends up being the case, I'll probably drop from the EQC team as I'll have nothing substantial to offer the project anymore, as I won't work on the server for a couple reasons. And I'm not that interested in being a "Tools Devs" in its real meaning (I don't consider EQCLP a tool, but no other team titles make more sense). I've actually only made one tool, and have had that made worthless by an attempt to 1up me. I've considered working on some tool ideas proposed in the past, but they just don't interest me much, even if the project was near a point that called for their creation. I was also considering offering some of my resharpening webcoding/imaging skills to use, but that idea is now scratched along with the launchpad.

God help if I start getting more serious about it, but I've even been considering working on a version of last years Z-Net stand alone client that I'd officially release. As much fun as I have with it all, the future of any version of those projects is grim and headed for disappointment. So please future self... NO!

For now I'll probably work more on image related things when I'm bored. Like creating some wallpapers. I find that fun. I've been drawing a little here and there as well. I've even been messing with a 3d editor called Blender lately. Hoping I can gain at least enough skill to make some wallpaper ideas I have look better. We will see. The controls with the program are wacky, so who knows if I can remain interested in it long enough to create something that's actually usable.

I just remembered one project idea I might work on. A C++ project. I started some prelim work on it today. Just getting some of the basic window functions working as I'd want. As is, it's just a project shell I could use for different projects. Some of the code will probably end up in EQCLP if I continue that project. Until I have some progress on it, its not worth describing. Kind of like Z-Band was for me years ago. Both I just don't/didn't know if I had enough skill to actually do it, or even if my idea was ridiculous and wouldn't work at all or as well as I think it could. If I make significant progress with it, I'll post more about it.

News: New Layout Revamp

Saturday, September 03, 2011

I got sick of my old blog layout which was inspired by the layout of one of my old sites. Even in its time, it was somewhat bland. With all the web coding I've been messing with lately, I've been really wanting to take a full crack at a new layout. One that looks sleek and professional. And built from near scratch, using no copyrighted image "shortcuts". I started with a basic bare-bones template, browsed some sites and blogs for inspiration, then started work on the graphics. A couple days later, here's what I have.

I like black and blue colors schemes obviously. I felt no desire to change that from my old one. In fact, I liked keeping it more to see myself use a black/blue+white/grey scheme more properly. I'm using the same background as the old layout, cause well, I just made that a week or 2 ago. So didn't really need to replace it. Still, I may build a new background sometime soon just because this one may not look as good as everything else now.

I'm quite happy with how the logo came out. Yes even that is 100% created by me. It's a kind of electrical circuit pathways type of thing. I'm more happy I didn't have to go with my first option, and make a cheesy matrixy mix of Japanese and Roman characters trickling down vertically, but in blue instead of green. Sure, it would still probably look nice, but ugg. The Matrix code effect is far to over done to the point of being cheesy. Even my binary code background is pushing it, though hey, I want some form of code in my images since this is primarily a dev blog for projects in whatever languages I make them in.

Anyway, now that I have a nice looking blog, I need to get back to finding some new, interesting content to put in it on a regular basis.

EDIT: For some reason I chose to get ahead of myself, and skip the round of testing in different browsers. I saw the site in IE8, and it was completely messed up regarding displaying the post column to the right or the sidebar column. Fixed now though. Also got border styles displaying as intended in mobile browsers, and hopefully IE9 (don't feel like installing it right now, as I won't be using it).