Friday, August 18, 2006

Remembering Ultima Online Philippines: The Filipino Shard

If there is one thing that I cannot forget is my drive in 2003 of putting up this Online Game which was introduced to my by my best friend in 2001, Ultima Online. For me, this was the very first online game that really caught my fancy, most of the time spending long hours, and not shutting down my computers just to make my characters strong, mostly merchant developed ones. Unlike most typical players who would wander out, adventure and fight off monsters, my approach to the game was more of a business minded one. Why shouldn’t it be considering that most games can be looked upon as business related rather than fantasy and adventuring people?

My role here was to make the game totally interesting. I get to play God in a way, trying to balance good and evil. I will admit, I was after justice in all aspects, becoming a game that most people wanted to make a real true to life game where the people such as robbers, murderers and slayers would exist equally with the common players who would just want to fight off Non-Playing Characters (NPC’s). The game proper was really amazing, creating monsters with powers that can totally annihilate anyone with one blow, magic and other combat related skills. Anyone can practically mold their characters as legends in their own right.

There is nothing much to argue other than maintaining such a game, considering server hosting, scripting and other expenses are the main reasons for my closing it down some time ago. Players as well were inclined to try out new games that offered high graphics, something that attracted and lured out players one by one. Dwindling numbers, conflicts of interests, the game was made popular by the players and not by the Game Masters as some would claim. Playing God in the game was not even an enjoying moment, especially when you see people arguing and cursing each other, it was just simply a game that many had really taken by heart. That alone is a testimony that such a game gets the better of most RPG addicts. It simply means a lot to them when they get into the game.

Free gaming will not last long. Maintenance requirements are a reality and to keep a shard up is no big joke. The problem is, most of us are accustomed to freebies and this will simply reach a point where most people will consider stopping and just lean towards other game related sites that offer better qualities and so. But seeing this, having seen the article I wrote about Ultima Online Philippines in Manila Bulletin, the interview I had on television through Knowledge Power, the original site, forums, and the times I have had with the players online, as always, I treasure such experiences. I have no regrets of trying to put up that game despite the odds and the hardships, but facing reality with the manner on how to maintain such a game online requires funds, something that most people did not understand then, but do now.

Friday, August 04, 2006

No Mouse? Use the Shortcut Keys

Unknown to many, the earlier versions of computers made do without a mouse. The use of a plain keyboard was the original concept of most computers in the early 90’s, and until the birth of Microsoft Windows 95 was the need for a mouse called for to ease the interface that most people enjoy today.

For the earlier computer literate individuals, everyone was familiar with the various short cut keys. Such short-cut keys are really logical first letters. Paired with the CTRL key, they could practically do anything. Some of the easier shortcut keys are:
  • CTRL + C – Copy
  • CTRL + P – Print
  • CTRL + F – Find or Search
  • CTRL + S – Save
  • CTRL + V – Paste
  • CTRL + B – Bold Letters
  • CTRL + I – Italic Letters
  • CTRL + U – Underline

These keys are easier for Microsoft Office products, especially in Word and Excel. For the more seasoned users, they find no need to resort towards the icons beneath the menu of the programs, especially if they already know what shortcut keys to use.

Some have gone to the extent of even being available in most products and web interfaces such as blogs from Word Press. To sum it all up, familiarization is really the key and how it will stick in the memory of people shall make life a whole lot easier for them when they use a computer and enjoy the powers that each machine has. The entirety of it all is right before us, the matter of how to explore and discover them lies in our interest for them.

Friendster Requests: Is It Impolite to Reject Friend Requests?

Everyone is sure to be familiar by now by this thing called Friendster. Friendster is a concept that is fascinating and a lot have followed its lead, like Multiply, Hi-5, Pinoyster and MySpace. A networking type of scheme where you can find old and new friends from the past, both memorable and unforgettable acquaintances, this craze is something that has hit the various nations today, particularly in the states of the United States, Europe, and Asia. For sure, the developers of this Friendster website never thought that such a concept would be this much in demand, something that has forced them to find ways of keeping their market leading ways above the up and coming network building techniques by most people who have seen the promise that such a concept brings.

To add people in a subscriber’s friends list, proper friend request permissions are sent out prior to actually adding them. For authentication purposes, a feature wherein verification if such people are really acquainted are asked such as the e-mail address, first name and last name, to preserve the privacy that most people have. For others, the option of allowing anyone on the Internet to see their profile and adding them as they wish is also made available. All these features are optional and can be set before and during the account subscription, which also happens to be free!

There was a time where Friendster limited the number of friends that one account had to only 500 friends. For most people, 500 is already a lot, hence forcing them to open up another account to be able to accommodate other friends who they may have not included in their list yet. While this was a good way to increase the subscriber database, it also meant having to consider the other factors such as hardware and software for the entire site as well. Storage, bandwidth and other factors needed an upgrade to accommodate such growth of this new fad, and this is certainly something that most successful ventures need to be open to. The limit by the way was eventually lifted, and people could add as many friends as they wished.

The trend continues today for Friendster. Its popularity increasing by the day and acquiring new members as its flourishes. It has made a marquee trademark for most people, and has even expanded the options they can do towards Blogging, profile enhancement using videos and music, testimonials and background enhancements all according to the member’s liking as far as expressing themselves.

Friendster has been successful and the only that perhaps they should take into consideration is their ability to accommodate the growing number of members, the load of data that they will have to carry and also the privacy concerns of most of its valued members. Friendster has allowed the people to express themselves, show off who they really are but perhaps stricter measures as far as display of pictures, which they stress as something that should not be obscene or has copyrights be used. Small as it may seem, perhaps it would be better for them to start monitoring these activities, as they may find themselves in unwanted legal issues which may lead to conflicts and problems not only with the laws that govern it, but with the people who actually hold rights to as far as pictures are concerned.