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James

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Everything posted by James

  1. Oh, I can think of a lot of instances where we were just too harsh from a moderation perspective. A lot of closed topics, a lot of corrections to posts, and a lot of deleted posts. It's true that we were mostly dealing with the more severe issues, but in retrospect, I think the approach wasn't right. That's definitely something I have to take responsibility for.   Haha, yeah the whole size 1 thing became really significant over time. It's funny how some font styles actually make me think of specific members here! One thing I'm a bit sad about is how the updated IPB has trashed our old formatting; it can't be helped, I know, but some of those old RPGs had really elaborate designs/layouts.
  2. I did like the quality, but once we achieved a certain level, I was making some conscious efforts to ease restrictions and tone down our moderation. I do feel like that started happening a bit too late. And, other than making people moderators, we didn't really have a good way of rewarding high-quality posts. The only major progression indicator was post count, which is kind of a bad message to send really. I think we needed a proper reputation system much earlier on, or something like that. And yeah, I'm sure we could probably still have some good debates! I remember some really specific ones, haha. Probably the most persistent debater I faced was Alex. We had some really fierce debates early on, and then we ended up playing Guild Wars regularly together. I wonder how he's doing now.   That is a really big compliment. We used to go to a lot of effort to design OB layouts. I remember each new version being a big event, and being more about the design/layout/forums than the underlying vB version we were on. It's funny to think about how excited people were when we did those launches. What's interesting is that a massive amount of work went into each one. Originally it was Justin and I, and then Des and I, and then Des and Petie were both involved - it was a dream team. ~_^ This IPB layout is slightly custom from memory (kind of), but it's still probably our worst design. And the logo quality is nerfed. Oh well. I think that was eventually going to happen when things sort of ground to a halt. I still think about OB occasionally...those exciting launches, the big debates, the dramas, the friendships, and the awesome chats and RPGs. We really did have some fun here. Edit: Oh, yes...Brazil/Alex and Mitch...I felt like we spent a lot of time keeping them from verbally killing each other. Haha.
  3. I think that trains are generally a good idea. Here in Australia, there has been a big push for a long time to build a high-speed rail line that would run along the east coast, from Melbourne to Brisbane. Apparently the flight corridor between Melbourne and Sydney is the busiest in the world; I can believe that. We have large numbers of people who need to travel between cities, but our continent is very large, and our major cities are very far from each other.   The problem has been that building a high-speed rail of that scale in Australia is astronomically expensive. So, that has really restricted governments in the past...who knows what will happen in the future.   But I don't think trains can outright replace aircraft, at least for a lot of things (especially overseas travel). But in cases where you're doing, say, only a one hour flight somewhere...then a high-speed train might be a better choice.   I also have some hope for the really advanced planes that various groups are researching at the moment. There's a plane concept (I forget the name), which involves very high-altitude flight and would apparently result in a Sydney to London flight of something like 4-6 hours (versus... maybe 24 hours at the moment!)   I think those are the kinds of technologies we should look at (unless someone invents teleportation...) ^_^
  4. I was trying to what Des said about PRP, but the quote function doesn't seem to be working (is that the case for anyone else?) Anyway, I think Des is right. Activity was declining well before the PRP started. For a long period of time, I'd guess that the PRP was actually one of the few things keeping activity alive on OB generally.   I have some theories about why OB has not been able to maintain the kind of activity it had during its peak. It would be hard to summarise all of them, but here are the key ones that come to mind for me:   - myOtaku/theO Worlds (prior to this we'd only had chat, which couldn't replace OB per se - but once we had other forms of messaging, the activity was more easily fractured)   - Strong emphasis on quality (I think we had a focus on quality for a good reason - OB was a huge spam fest prior to version 3.0 - but I think it took too long to ease that focus, which turned away a lot of people...I think that OB became a more mature place than the rest of the community, which made the barrier to entry too high)   - Rise of social media/etc... (I think that when more and more alternatives appeared, web forums generally - specially dedicated ones like this - started to struggle. Many web forum communities that used to thrive have died out long ago. These days, unless you're a Reddit or something...I think it's hard to survive. There are newer, often better, alternatives.)   Also, I think that theOtaku.com probably became less significant over the years and it hasn't kept up with the times. So, although OB suffered the biggest decline the quickest, there's no question in my mind that our entire community is in atrophy generally.
  5. Ah, MaxSonic. How are you going these days? Yes, I still like Jet Set Radio; in fact, I just downloaded it from Xbox Live Marketplace. There are some great Sega classics there!
  6. Yes, I agree about ME2. There seems to be some debate about ME3, but I personally enjoyed it (I'm talking gameplay rather than story). It really makes me wonder what they are going to do for Mass Effect 4.
  7. I miss the ability to use the quote function! It's not working in IE (yes, I'm using IE...) Futer FTW!
  8. Magus, how are you going with Mass Effect?   The first game is good, but it can be a bit of a struggle at times (due to the things you mentioned). I strongly recommend persevering though, because Mass Effect 2 and 3 are so much better than the original. ME2 is like a breath of fresh air compared to the first game; the mechanics are far smoother, the performance is better, graphics are improved, locations are more varied, etc...
  9. Yeah, another year, another post... :D I think there's no chance of resurrecting OtakuBoards to anything like its former glory; maybe I was just trying to create some sort of discussion (and navel-gazing has always been popular at OB - maybe that's my fault!)   Anyway, I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year. I miss you all.
  10. I'm currently playing Destiny, รข??Civilisation V (still - I can't wait for Beyond Earth on Mac!), and Shadows of Mordor which is pretty awesome, although I can see myself getting bored of it before too long.   For anyone who is on Destiny and wants to play it with me, my PSN is white-pikmin.
  11.   I think that this points to the additional layers of complexity involved. For example, we know that Hamas launches rockets from civilian areas (including houses and schools). I suppose that because they are essentially a guerrilla force, they use these civilian areas for cover and so on. I believe that Israel attempts to target its strikes as accurately as possible - but we know, of course, that in highly crowded civilian neighbourhoods, there's always going to be sizable civilian casualties.   And this is why, in large part, I take issue with Hamas. If you compare Hamas to the Palestinian Authority (West Bank), it's like night and day. There are clear reasons for that, and I think part of it is that Hamas is to Palestine what the ultra-orthodox settlers are to Israel (i.e. the "fringe" group that is behaving in a way that continues to spark conflict).   You are right to talk about Israel being more powerful and so on, but you have to consider a further point - there have actually been a couple of Israeli prime ministers who seriously talked about negotiating over items that many in Israel consider non-negotiable (for example, Ehud Olmert was prepared to negotiate over the status of Jerusalem, where most Israeli PMs are not).   But there's a catch 22 in all of that - when rockets are fired into Israel, there is enormous pressure on the Israeli PM to respond. If he does not, then he can rightly be accused of not defending his citizens (and thus, in a country where there are volatile and ever-shifting political coalitions in government, it is rather easy for a sitting government to be pushed out). The risk, of course, is that hard-line conservatives assume office and ratchet up the military intervention even further.   The latest round of cease fire is a good example of the above. The cease-fire was agreed by both sides, and it held for a while - until Hamas broke it. Given that they were not being fired upon by Israeli forces, why did they break the cease-fire? What could they possibly hope to achieve, other than to plunge their people into a second invasion in as many months? It's utter selfish foolishness.   Recent polls in Gaza suggest that many people simply want the violence to end, and in fact, many are angry at Hamas. But you will note that it's also difficult for Gazans to speak out against Hamas, as well.    In case I need to add a caveat, then I should say that there are many things I believe Israel needs to swallow by way of compromise - it needs to stop settlement activity entirely, it needs to probably dismantle some settlements in the West Bank, and it also probably needs to cede more territory than it is prepared to at the moment. It also needs to back-off the idea of Jerusalem being entirely Israeli. These are not small compromises for Israel, but I believe they need to happen.   However, I think the Palestinians need to find some way to boot out Hamas and have another political party running both Gaza and the West Bank. A moderate party with serious political leaders. There are many great and professional Palestinian MPs (who are currently unable to operate due to the suspended legislative council - a result of the Fatah/Hamas conflict). This needs to be urgently resolved or there is really no chance to move forward I think.   In amongst all of the above, though...you have the personal cycle of loss and tragedy. This is where the ultimate challenge for political leaders on both sides come in - they will both have to face their people in the eye and say "I know you have lost a family member, but today we are laying down arms and are not retaliating". I can understandably see how difficult this would be for even the strongest politician. 
  12. Controversy is back on OB! Hehe.   I've been thinking about this a lot lately because of the news. The biggest thing that makes me angry about this conflict (and those in Syria and Iraq) is the way that children are caught in the crossfire. That really upsets me the most. Children don't understand what's going on, and they have no stake in political or religious arguments on either side, yet they suffer horrifically...and that suffering perpetuates a cycle of hatred and violence. Children who have abusive parents are more likely to become abusive adults - this situation is like that one, writ large.   One of the problems here too is that regardless of the symptoms (i.e. the invasion of Gaza), there's a lot of confusion about the causes because they keep going back in time seemingly infinitely (Israel is responding to Hamas rocket attacks, but Hamas's rockets are a response to Israeli oppression, but Israeli oppression is a response to terrorism, but terrorism is a response to-- and so on).   So it seems to me that the only way to really resolve the issue is to have a circuit breaker, and that circuit breaker probably needs to involve serious compromise - that's almost politically impossible for both sides.   The more I think about it though, the more I actually have a major problem with Hamas in particular, as being a major cause and contributor to the above-mentioned cycle.   That is...Hamas doesn't seem to recognise some basic facts:   1. It's impossible for Hamas to destroy Israel. They should stop trying.   2. Even though the Israeli response to Hamas is disproportionate, Hamas knows that provocation will create an excuse for such a response. True, Hamas can't control Israel's response - but it can control its own actions.   If Hamas invested its resources in establishing good public systems in Gaza (e.g. focusing on anti-corruption, police and security, health care, economic development, etc...) then it would be in a far stronger position to negotiate with Israel.   I suspect that the ideology of the organisation prevents it from taking interim steps to resolve issues. For instance, the blockades on the borders - what if Hamas proposed joint patrols and joint security, where Israeli and Palestinian border authorities work collaboratively for a period of time in order to build confidence? Then there could eventually be a handover plan to full Palestinian control.   I know none of those ideas are new, but I think we won't see any improvement until a more reasonable, centrist (dare I say, secular) political party is in control of Gaza.
  13.   It's interesting you say that, because based on E3...there are some really big gameplay differences between Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes. It's as though GZ was more of a test bed or beta (almost).   I have now played through Ground Zeroes once, and it only took maybe a couple of hours. However, I'm very aware of the fact that I kind of went straight from A-B. There seems to be a lot more to explore in the game world.   Having said that, based on what I've seen from E3, I think that Konami are adding some really great improvements to the gameplay for Phantom Pain. So, I think PP will feel very different from GZ, in the end.   I almost see GZ as more of a proof of concept. It's worth picking up if you love the MGS franchise. Although I'm a bit behind on the story, I think; there are a lot of recordings and things you can pick up and listen to, and I don't have much context for these...so maybe I need to really sit there and listen through all of them.
  14.   Hey kuji. ;-)   I think we were all very different. Things used to seem so much bigger - and I guess they were at one stage! I remember when I'd log into OB each day and find dozens (and, at times, well over a hundred) new posts across the forums. It really did feel like OB was a big community, but not as painfully big as a 4chan or something like that.   As it is, I never really got into message boards much after OB. I post occasionally on AppleInsider, but that's about it. I used to post on Steam User Forums, but now the Half-Life area has died down so much that I don't really bother anymore.   OB was really the only place that had that really unique mix of topics (everything from political debate to video games to RPGs). :)   It's good to see some people still around. Although, there are a few people who just disappeared and I've always wondered what happened to them...
  15.   I went to dinner (and a nice Max Brenner session) on Saturday night with my partner and two of my siblings. Did we bring phones out? Well, yes - not over dinner, but over Max Brenner afterwards. We were talking about travel and showing some travel photos, as well as a few funny memes and things like that.   However, most of the conversation was just that - a conversation. We probably might Google something here or there, but it's very rare (usually it's just about the definition of a word or something along those lines). So, for us, it can act as a bit of a conversation lubricant more than anything else (somehow that doesn't sound quite right...)   It's interesting though, because I do think there's this general sense that the art of conversation is being lost. I don't know if this is the reason for it or not, but in my own case, I find that close friends and family will often want to do specific things on weekends that take us away from that smart phone world. What I mean is, I'm increasingly finding that people will just come over for coffee - we'll have the TV off, and maybe some music on in the background. Or, like Saturday night, we won't do some huge loud event (although those can be fun), but instead, we'll just get a group together for dinner and coffee so that we can do what we do best (which usually involves psychoanalysing the family, haha).   Aside from that though, we often talk politics, religion, philosophy and current events. So there's always something interesting to discuss.
  16. This question may be an exercise in nothing other than fantasy, but I thought I'd ask it anyway: do you guys (those of you who still browse and post) think that there's any chance of growing OB again?   I ask this question because even after all this time, it amazes me that there are still people who post and lurk here. In fact, I'm kind of amazed that OB is even still online. Considering the earliest version started circa-1998, that would make the community a whopping 16 years old!   That almost makes this place truly archaeological in Internet terms!   Clearly, we still have a huge history of great content on here (everything from Graphic Worm to our RPGs). It's great to preserve that, but is there anything we can do to build the site up again?   Bulletin boards seem to be a dying breed - or at least, that's what I first thought, except that there are still some great bulletin boards out there.   What do you guys think?
  17.   Yeah, good idea. Maybe I can think about writing a bit of a "story so far" post, which will bridge from the old RPG to the new tail end that we can write (I think it would be good to finish off Almagest Expedition if possible, before starting something new).   Other than that, I'd be up for an entirely new RPG; I just haven't seen any at the moment that really strike me (what does impress me though is that a few of you are still committed to writing them!)
  18. Cool. Good to see some interest! I was re-reading Almagest Expedition on Friday - I have to say, it has aged pretty well! The writing is really strong; I found myself really enjoying it. In fact, I'm not sure if my writing now is as good as it was then! Haha.   Having said that, it may be tricky to finish that one...maybe we do need to start a third... Otherwise we'd have to really find a way to awkwardly change the scope a bit I think. When I re-read it, I'm finding it hard to place all the characters. Any thoughts? Shy? 
  19.   Yeah I think we were looking at that... Almagest 2 kind of started to lose its focus (like all RPGs I guess!) I still remember a couple of the things we were going to explore in a third edition...but the question is, do we continue working on the second one and maybe take it in a different direction?   After all, there would only be a couple of us involved now. 
  20.   Very cool. I'm nowhere near as far in, but I'd love to have some people to form parties with! My server is Mateus though - can characters be moved across worlds?   I've just reached level 10, and so, only just really begun to unlock some broader features. I'll add you to my PSN! My PSN name is white-pikmin.
  21.   That doesn't count! Hehe.   The Padded Room Party must be the longest surviving thread in OB history...right?   The two RPGs I'd think about re-starting are the second Almagest one...and the second Maverick Hunters one. I think a couple of you were in Almagest? (Boo?)
  22. Here's my current list by platform:   PC - Civilization V I still play this game semi-regularly. It's brilliant. For me, it never gets old (and I just recently bought a new iMac, so I can run this with full graphics settings and it looks rather lovely).   PC - SimCity Now that the price has fallen significantly, I have finally bit the bullet. Maxis has had plenty of time to get the game stable, and it works well. There are some things that are a bit disappointing (very small city plot sizes for example - they could allow plots up to double the size) - but overall I'm enjoying it. Sandbox mode is a great addition, the visuals are awesome, and the gameplay is a nice combination of being highly intuitive and also quite sophisticated.   Xbox 360 - Mass Effect 2 On my second play-through, with a female Shephard. A bit like Civ, I play this one here and there. I still love Mass Effect, especially Mass Effect 2; can't wait for the next trilogy on the new consoles.   PS4 - Octodad I only just got a PS4 and I'm rotating a few games around. Octodad is insanely weird, but the concept and execution is very clever. So far I'm really enjoying it, although it gets a bit too frustrating to play for longer periods of time.   PS4 - Killzone Shadowfall I got this game with the PS4. Never played a Killzone title before this one. Gorgeous graphics and sound really hit you with this game. The 3D sound in particular is fantastic. Story-wise, it's pretty decent; there are some really strong Half-Life 2 influences throughout, which isn't a bad thing (as I love HL2). Having said that, the gameplay isn't always terribly clever (although it has some major high points). The game can get a bit boring with very long play sessions, but I must say, I'm definitely enjoying it.   PS4 - Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Not quite sure what to say about this one. I buy all the MGS titles; I love the gameplay and the stories, so this was a no-brainer. Maybe because this is a bit of a preview of the full game, I'm not really feeling that I'm getting into the meat of any significant story. Mostly, the plot is so far just a thinly veiled commentary on Guantanamo Bay. And given past MGS lore, I'm finding that to be a bit lazy.   However, I've only just started it, and again, I'm aware that it's just a preview. We'll see what the final game is like.   Having said that, gameplay is great and I don't mind the changes that the team made (things like tagging enemies actually work pretty well). Visuals and sound are both outstanding as you'd expect. So, I can't wait for the full version of the game to arrive.   PS4 - Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn I only just started this one too (yesterday actually), but I'm already falling in love with it; I really hope it doesn't get too repetitive or boring. After only a couple of hours of playing this, there's just so much to say: visuals and sound are stunning, controls and movement are beautifully designed, the plot is so far pretty good, and there's a really elegant mix of well-established MMORPG stuff as well as lots of small and thoughtful touches that really stand out.   This game just feels great to play. The combat especially is heaps of fun. I'm thinking this might be my new Guild Wars, which is a big statement, especially given that it attracts a monthly fee (and I've so far refused to buy any games that require this...)
  23. Hey guys, I'm just curious: is anyone here playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn? I have just started playing it and I am really, really enjoying it.   Part of my motivation to play is the fact that I just got a shiny new PS4, and also, I still feel very uncomfortable with the controls in Guild Wars 2; so much so that I really can't enjoy playing it, sadly.   FFXIV really scratches the itch though. It's so elegantly designed, and I love the way Square Enix have integrated the PS4 controller; very clever stuff.   But since I'm new to it (and I don't really know anyone on PSN or anything yet), I'm wondering if any fellow Otakuites are playing it. I am on the U.S. servers (got to check which world I'm on so I can tell you...).   Any takers?
  24. A recent discussion made me think about our RPGs...one of the reasons I'm happy that OtakuBoards still exists is that the RPGs are all still there (although I'm not sure how many have survived with their formatting intact).   Anyway, I know that I participated in a ton of unfinished RPGs (I guess most of them were).   Just a general query...are there any "oldies" around who still have any interest in going back to those? It may be short-lived...and incredibly surreal...but I think it'd be fun!   It would be especially interesting to go back to an older RPG and dive in, after a few years away from it - either we'll be very rusty or our writing skills will have improved (for me, it's definitely the former).   Any thoughts?
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