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Database Upgrade Status

The behind the scenes database revamp is almost done, I still need to go back and clean up a few columns that aren’t needed anymore and check some of the linking and constraints between the tables. I also want to look at the select statements I’m using in the php pages, right now I use “Select *” quite frequently, in most cases I don’t need all the columns so it would be more efficient to just specify the ones being used.

I also need to go through and clean up the css files as well, I’ve got a few things being done “in-line” that really should be handled in a style sheet.

An unintended side effect is that the Product_id codes for most of the products ended up changing. That doesn’t affect this site particularly except for a few hard coded links, but any external sites that had hard coded links, including Pinterest, will find those links now going to different pages, or possibly getting a “Page not Found”. My apologies for that, it wasn’t my intention to mess up any external references.

I’ve now got the “Related Products”, “Related Websites” and “Purchase Links” functionality working, all of which can now handle multiple entries.

My next tasks are to finish up some of the data entry forms and start filling in some of the data that’s missing. The Non-English pages are in bad need of some fixing, and I need to go through RPGNow and see which of the new products I haven’t added yet. There are a few oversize images that need to be trimmed down and a few missing images that I need to track down as well.

Printing and Edition Reference for MERP Middle-earth Role Playing

Now I’m doing something I thought I did ages ago, uploading all of the files for Guy Fullerton’s awesome “Printing and Edition Reference for MERP Middle-earth Role Playing” reference. He gave me the source files a year ago, I thought I had uploaded them and fixed the link on my site to look at them, but must have just done it on my test site. Likewise fixing/deleting a few other links such as to Terry’s Shadow World pages.
I realized I hadn’t posted them today when I started work on the new “related webpages” portion of the ICE Products pages.

http://www.icewebring.com/MERP_Print_Ref/PrintingEditionReference.html

Doing some checking on the newly posted files, I’ve realized that the links to my products have changed, not quite sure if it is just with the recent updates I’ve done or if it was from a previous revamp. In any case, I’ll have to update those in the Printing Edition Reference. I’ll add that to the task list 🙂

Product List Database Revamp

The first major stage of the revamp of the site is now done. I’ve completely revamped the underlying database for the site, normalizing most of the tables and creating some views to make working with the tables easier. This allowed for major improvements in how I have been handling Authors and the extra images that are attached to some of the individual product pages. It also allowed some clean up of Publishers and Book Types. It’s going to allow me to develop some additional features that I’ve wanted for awhile, such as a list of related products attached to the individual product pages, a list of links to websites with additional information on the individual products and a more flexible way to handle links to places to purchase products.

The visible changes are to the Product Lists, there is now just one entry for each product per edition per publisher. Individual formats such as Hardcover, Softcover, Pdf no longer have individual entries on the list, instead these are now listed in a small table on the individual product page. I think it’s just a cleaner way to handle the lists. It does mean I will need to go through all the lists and make sure I have the most appropriate thumbnail image being used but that’s a minor issue.

Currently the link to buy a product, when available, is in the little table listing the different formats. The plan is to consolidate those and move them to a separate list as many of the format variations link to the same page anyway.

The next step is also behind the scenes, I’m redeveloping the forms that I use to update the products to match the new database structure, and I need to do some clean up on a few items that didn’t convert well. I’ll also need to revamp the “Recent Releases” sidebar to use the new tables.

Updated Theme

I finally sorted out the issues I was having with the new F2 theme, boiled down to where I was placing the call to header.php. I also managed to fix the problem I was having with the individual product pages coming up as “Page not found” in the title, hopefully this will also help the products show up in Google better 🙂

Also added the new Second Edition of “Eidolon City in the Sky” to the Shadow World product list. Still missing a few other items that I need to go back and fill in.

Product Updates

I’ve finally decided to update the product lists again, there have been a few new items since last time I updated, particularly some supporting software.
I got started by fixing up a couple problems with the HARP list and added in the newest versions of Martial Law. More to come over the next few days.

Visitors to this site

I’ve occasionally thought that I should take this site down because it seems that it may have out lived it’s usefulness, but then I check my stats and see that I’m still getting between 6000 to 8000 unique visitors each month. I’d like to think that they aren’t all spambots. In fact, I can see from some of the other stats that I am still getting some real visitors. So, I think I will track down the few products that ICE has released in the last couple of years and get them added to the lists, then see if I can’t get the site updated and working with the latest version of the F2 theme, or possibly look into what new tools and add ons have come out for WordPress that might be helpful in maintaining the site.
If you are a visitor here, I’ll love for you to leave a comment about what brought to the site and what you found useful, or suggestions for what could be improved. Thanks!

Reverting to old version of theme

I’ve reverted back to the old version of the F2 theme, it seems the new version doesn’t work well with my customizations for the individual product pages.

I’ve used the newer one for several months, so I’m surprised no one, including myself, had noticed those pages weren’t working.

At some point when I get some time, I’ll get my test system up and running again and figure out what changed.  The new version does have some nice features that I’d like to be able to use.

Short Update

ICE has been busy with the beta release of the Rolemaster Unified line of products, gathering feedback from playtesters and proof readers.
I have decided not to participate in the beta testing phase, although I did download some of the initial pdf files. I briefly skimmed Character Law and haven’t looked at the other books at all.
I think the reason for my lack of interest is two fold. First, I haven’t played Rolemaster in ages, the only group I’m playing with at the moment is a Pathfinder group and I’m having enough fun with that that I don’t feel the need to seek out another group, or to try and convert that group to Rolemaster.
Second is simply a lack of time, or rather, a decision to allocate the time I do have to things other than Roleplaying Games, article writing and website maintainance.

ICE is also still in the process of rebranding many of the older products and making them available again. I will have to take some time soon and update my product lists to reflect this. I’ve also been debating what the best way to represent “Print on Demand” products would be, I may just continue to list them as Hardcover or Softcover rather than adding any particular tag to them.

I will continue to maintain this site as long as people find it useful, and, as always, if some new sort of web technology comes along that I want to try out, this site is usually the one that gets used as a test for it.

Cheers!

HARP Fantasy is back! $5.00 until Sept 15 2012

Quoting directly from the August Briefing:

HARP Fantasy is back!

Join the new road to high adventure with HARP Fantasy. Enhanced, remastered, HARP Fantasy has drawn upon years of actual game play experience, fan feedback, and logical reasoning to improve the rules from the original 2003 and 2004 editions without compromising their playability.

Here’s your checklist of rules changes:

  • The Professions have been rebalanced in terms of their professional abilities
  • Flat 50 Development Points is the default for calculating Development Points
  • Races have been better balanced in terms of stat bonuses, some racial abilities have been revised, and Humans now get Skill Flexibility (the ability to make a single skill in a NonFavored category Favored)
  • Blood Talents have been rebalanced in terms of Development Point cost
  • The Mandatory Subskills rule has been incorporated from HARP SF
  • Four new Influence skills have been added from HARP SF
  • New talents have been added from HARP SF and Development Point costs of existing Talents have been properly balanced
  • The use of Spell Adders and Power Point Adders has been clarified
  • Clarifications and improvements have been made to the rules for Light & Vision, Fighting Blind, Asphyxiation and Holding Breath, Drowning and Stat Loss
  • Life Points have been removed and the Stun rules made consistent with HARP SF
  • All of the spells have had their base costs and scaling options made consistent with the revised spell creation system (to be published in the enhanced College of Magics) and descriptions have been clarified in specific cases
  • Herb and poison prices have been rationalized
  • A new monster creation system has been used to rework the monster collection with some monsters being replaced with new creatures
  • Several magic items have had their effects adjusted
  • The guidance on customizing clerics and magic users has been revised to better fit with the rules given in the enhanced College of Magics and future envisaged sourcebooks.
  • The Language Table and associated rules have been made consistent with HARP SF
  • The “Non-Adventuring Professions” have been removed – these will return in in a future sourcebook in a form suitable for PCs
  • We have also improved the interior artwork, replacing virtually every filler piece with meaningful illustrations. You’ll love the new art.

    Here’s the link to the RPGNow page but read the rest of this Briefing first! –
    http://www.rpgnow.com/product/104176/High-Adventure-Role-Playing-Fantasy

    The proper price for the HARP Fantasy pdf is 20 US dollars. However, as we promised in previous Briefings, we are making a special time-limited offer for any ICE fan who would like to buy the new HARP Fantasy pdf. Use the following link to buy the HARP Fantasy pdf for a mere 5 (yes, FIVE) dollars
    http://www.rpgnow.com/index.php?discount=91524
    (if you prefer www.drivethrurpg.com/index.php?discount=91524 and so on for all the other OBS affiliates. You may need to directly put in the discount code 91524 at the checkout screen.)

    This is a time-limited offer and will END on 15th September. Do not procrastinate, do not dither, just take advantage of it.

    The pdf version is already available. Softcover and hardcover versions will become available as soon as OneBookShelf approves the print files.

    Best wishes,
    Nicholas

    Novus RPG

    Novus Fantasy Roleplaying GameNovus Fantasy Roleplaying Game by Tim Dugger
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    The back cover of “Novus” says:

    ” Firehawk Games did not set out to reinvent the fireball, it tried to make a fun and flexible game that can easily be adapted to many different styles of role-playing and many different settings. Firehawk Games wants to give you and old school experience with modern, up to date rules, and we believe that Novus fits the bill perfectly.”

    I think the author did a good job with what he wanted to do, reading through the book was reminiscent of reading the old D & D Rules Cyclopedia, with some of the style of Rolemaster and HARP, which isn’t surprising since the author was involved in both of those, particularly HARP.

    One thing that was new to me was the Snags and Boons. If you suffer a fumble, failure or are exceptionally successful then instead of just getting a bonus or being assigned a particular occurrence, the player gets a certain number of Snag or Boon points which they then immediately spend to purchase a modification to whatever they are doing, which could be extra damage, or breaking a weapon or many other choices. It’s interesting to me because it does give the Player more control over what happens in those cases.

    The 128 page book gives you everything you need to get started in playing a game, character creation rules, races, backgrounds, character classes, spells, and monsters.

    The system could easily be used to run most of the older AD&D or Basic D&D modules, particularly the ones designed for lower level characters.

    Although I haven’t play tested it yet, it seems like a nice little system. Unfortunately, I don’t really think there is anything outstanding enough about it for it to get much attention, or to cause most players to want to switch from whatever their current favorite system might be.

    I think to really be successful, it would need to get used as the underlying system for some sort of popular setting like “Game of Thrones” or another popular TV or book series.

    Having said that, it will be interesting to see what sort of follow up material is produced and how well it does. There are a set of short pdf “Libram Novus” articles that are available that I will have to check out as well.

    View all my reviews