It's been five years since Nuketown's last redesign. The imputus then was to experiment with this nifty new open source content management system I'd heard about: Drupal. I converted Nuketown from the homegrown CMS I'd written, created a Drupal theme, and then had fun experimenting with views, content types and way too many modules.
Five year later it's time for another Drupal upgrade: Drupal 7. Unlike the last few Drupal upgrades, Drupal 7 changes a lot of things under the hood, including the theme. Rebuilding the current Nuketown theme -- which has sabertooth-like incisors -- seems like a waste of time ... why not take the opportunity to do something new?
Thus, the redesign. A lot has changed in the last five years and as I re-work Nuketown, I want to acknowledge those changes and incorporate them into the design. A good example is social media and the microcontent associated with it. In 2006, Facebook was still largely a college phenomenon and Twitter had just launched. Five years later I've made 14,339 tweets, much of which might have been a blog post in an earlier age, almost all of which isn't captured on Nuketown in anyway.
I'm in the progress of updating Nuketown's Mac Role-Playing Game Tools page, which has developed an embarassing case of bitrot.
Unfortunately some of the more stalwart tools, like Crystal Ball, as well as one-offs like the Town Creator and D&D Manager, are no longer available, and their sites have gone to the Great Bit Bucket in the Sky. Still others, like Dunjinni, no longer work with under Mac OS Lion and don't seem likely to be updated any time soon.
Nuketown now has an official twitter feed: NuketownSF. The new @NuketownSF feed updates about the ol'thermonuclear burg as well as news and reviews about stuff we've seen or read that we don't have time to cover in the webzine.
Check the batteries in your motion trackers, refuel your flamethrowers, lock and load your shotgun, and make sure you've everything you need to make a few dozen pipe bombs.
Monster Week is here.
The week-long celebration of speculative fiction's monster movies is running July 25-31 at Nuketown. It focuses on "creature features", movies like Aliens, Predator and The Thing that pit humanity against overwhelming horrors. It will include movie reviews, audio commentary, game reviews and RPG reviews and anything else we can shove out the airlock.
You may have noticed that some recent posts were missing from Nuketown; that's because for reasons unknown, the MySQL database that drives the site became corrupted Tuesday afternoon. The database was unrecoverable, but I was able to restore from a recent (5/26) backup. As for why the database went south, I can't say though I'm planning to ping Dreamhost tech support to see if there were any database server glitches at the time.
The Discovery Channel has Shark Week. That's all well and good -- sharks are equal parts terrifying and fascinating -- but why limit yourself to one species? This summer Nuketown is launching Monster Week -- one full week dedicated to the best in cinematic horror. We're going to have movie reviews, soundtrack reviews, blog and game posts inspired by said movies, and -- if I can swing it -- feature length audio commentary for a film.
I've re-enabled open commenting on Nuketown (meaning posts will be posted without being pre-screened). The Mollom module for Drupal has been doing an admirable job catching spam and I think it's up to the task.
We'll see what actually happens; if we get a major spam attack that Mollom can't handle, I'll have to fall back to the "must authenticate to post without approval" stance I've had since June.
Nuketown's been upgraded to Drupal 6, which is the latest stable version of the open source content management system. So far, things seem to have made it through the upgrade intact, though I discovered that the Image Assist module now only wants to display images that have been "published".
Long-time visitors to the site may be wondering what's going on with comments at Nuketown; for the last year or so, anyone could post without having to log in or have their posts moderated. That's no longer the case.
The problem is spam; the site has been inundated with a particularly annoying variety of comment spam that uses random snippets of legitimate text taken from other web sites, news stories, etc. and a smattering of legitimate hyperlinks to provide cover for hardcore porn comments linking to sites that are anything but legitimate.