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Mokonzi

Memoirs of TXU - Part 3

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It's interesting perusing through some of the statistics of the site, it helps create a feel for the progression of the site. 2Blackhawk has been useful for this, as he's kept a constant track of stats (hidden from most in the Moderators Areas) which help show the progression. I've copied one or two of the charts he's done in his time, and notice the steady growth TXU has had.

It was due to this growth, and a growing need for a more familiar forum, as well as a dedicated front end page for Xtended, that discussions began on converting the original SMF forum to phpBB2.

SMF was a nice compact design, but hadn't been user friendly to a large degree, and wasn't up to standard of the phpBB system. Mox mentioned to me that he had a friend who was willing to help modify the site, converting it to phpBB and working on a front page for Xtended. I must say, I was nervous. Up until that point I'd kept a tight control of TXU, after all it was my little project. I gave it some thought and then decided and I'd let Mox's 'Friend' demonstrate on a test site.

Soon after Mishra appeared on the site, and Mox introdcued him as this mysterious friend. Very quickly Mishra had put together some good ideas on how to create a nice fresh look to TXU that moved away from the very staid and (I have to say this, cos it is very true of the work I'd done on the SMF forum) very boring that had been TXU until then.

Over several days, from the image of the Egosoft forums, was cut the new, refined, and stylish TXU image. After a few tweaks and a few test runs, Mishra announced he was ready to migrate across to the phpBB system. The two of us worked over the weekend of the 12th to 13th of July 2006 doing the final tests, before we made a final decision to import the forum into phpBB2 on Sunday the 13th.

We started early, and the process went well initially. Then as the process continued, all hell broke loose, and the conversion hit glitch after glitch. About half way through the process I had to meet up with an appointment, and from there Mox took over my role, the two of them finishing the import probably after around 6 or 7 hours from beginning to end.

Nerves were shattered, but the success was clearly visible. The site had gone from second rate, to a first class institution, largely due to the tireless work of Mishra. I do need to make this clear. Much of the graphical side of what TXU is now, has been down to Mishra's ability. He has tremendous skill and ability, and has a keen eye for an acceptable look. Without his skills, TXU wouldn't be half of what it currently is.

The following week, Mishra worked on creating a front end for the Xtended Mod, which was quite a messy business in coding terms. The current vBulletin system is a lot cleaner and more slick, but phpBB addons weren't easy to install by any means. Mishra's skills enabled a successful integration, and by the end of July, Xtended's new frontend advertisement was up and running.

Mishra soon became an integral part to not only TXU and it's administration, but also to the Xtended Team.

Progress on Xtended came quickly, and several releases were made, each advancing the boundaries on what had been done in modding terms. Again, it's fair of me to point out that Xtended didn't have a monopoly on new ideas. Plenty of the other mods had brilliant success at finding new and improved ways of implementing things into the game. But Xtended contributed a lot of the new ideas over it's development. It did however suffer setbacks.

One of the biggest setbacks was to do with various files not updating on saved games. This meant new features were being implemented only partially for many players. And it was a big setback for Xtended's development. It was during this point that a brilliant suggestion was made that was to change the face of Xtended, not to mention the face of TXU.

To be Continued...
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Updated 05-09-2010 at 07:57 PM by Mokonzi

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