November 2005 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

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  11. November
  12. December

Started a new Tutorial (26th November 2005)

In response to the e-mails I get from people who do not understand how to install cars, I have decided to write a Newbies Guide to Installing Cars which will explain everything they must do when install cars into GTA.

Updated Download Pages (26th November 2005)

I went through all of the GTA 3 downloads and GTA Vice City downloads to make the links easier to understand. Instead of saying things like Model and Handling Package they now say Download Car and Handling. This is because I received an e-mail from somebody who could not understand how to download cars from this website.

Since many players of GTA are young and do not have English as their first language, I want the site to be as easy to understand as possible.

New Articles about Website Design and Programming (26th November 2005)

The subject of delivering XHTML correctly to all devices is often overlooked as being too complicated to do properly. Hopefully my new tutorial called XHTML Headers will help other people to improve the performance of their websites.

Application Feedback (20th November 2005)

Although my applications have been very useful to me, I’d like to know of anyone else finds them useful. A lot of people have given me great feedback from testing my CFG Studio handling editor but I have not had much feedback from my general tools. Some of my programmer friends tested them and reported bugs during development but I havn’t had any real user feedback.

To try and see what people thought, I am running a SiteStudio and TextStudio feedback topic on Accessify Forum. If you are not registered there, feel free to contact me another way with your experience of using these programs. I would like to make them really useful programs. Getting feedback from real users is very important to do this.

New Handling Project (20th November 2005)

You may remember the 1967 Chevrolet Corvette by Bonsaijodelfisch for GTAVC. Well, he has made another Corvette but this time it is a race modified version of the classic Stingray model from the 1960’s and it will soon be released for GTA San Andreas. You can check the GTAForums topic for the latest progress.

My handling for this vehicle is in progress and I’m really enjoying it! A welcome break from all the coding and Web development I have been doing for the past few weeks.

Application Updates (20th November 2005)

My TextStudio editor for markup and programming has been refined some more. There were a couple of interface bugs which prevented one of the lists from refreshing properly and I astandardised the captions a little more. The SiteStudio tool will be getting a new name to better reflect its increasing capabilities. It can now create hyperlinked site maps of the results you get from searching your computer.

Application Updates (11th November 2005)

I have packaged up my Visual Basic programs so they are now available with or without the source code. Most of the programs have received minor improvements for this update.

Website Design Progress (11th November 2005)

My current project as part of my modern website design company has been making continued progress. I have been developing a draft of a potential new design and response has been fairly positive to this so far. I have been researching and testing HTTP Authorisation techniques with some good results.

The system used by the project’s current website relies on a Java application to run in the user’s machine. This can take ten or more seconds to load and does not prevent people linking in directly to the protected content.

Abbreviation Effect (11th November 2005)

All abbreviations and acronyms are now using standard code instead of the nested span hack for Internet Explorer. This has meant the functionality of the site is reduced in Internet Explorer but this is due to the browser omitting parts of the markup standards. The pages degrade gracefully in this device, so the pages remain accessible. The primary benefit of these elements is for the users screen readers, which handle this important element correctly.

MultiSlayer Updates (11th November 2005)

Some parts of the map are rarely used in games, so I have been refining the map and changing weapon locations to make these areas worth going into. I have also taken some new screenshots with the lighting conditions set to be a bit lighter than before. You can check the progress and download the new version from the MultiSlayer level for GTA 2 page.

MultiSlayer Updates (3rd November 2005)

The final version of MultiSlayer for GTA 2 is getting nearer! I have now released MultiSlayer 4.5 beta 14 which includes:

  1. Four more Insane Stunt Bonus jumps. There are now five.
  2. Two extra tanks. All tanks have 70 rockets, which is the maximum the game allows.
  3. Replaced an Oil Slicks powerup with Electro Gun.
  4. Removed a Molotov Cocktail powerup so I can place one in a nearby empty area.
  5. Rotated the McCranish Wharf crane so you can see where you are going more easily.
  6. Added a second crane to the North Downtown bridge construction site. I also added the base for the next bridge support so there is something to see if you fly off the end.
  7. Altered the South Pacific Strip business park building which has Rapid Fire on the roof. You can now get down from the roof on foot without dying and without using the stairs.
  8. Many small changes to buildings, fixed all known bugs, fixed some badly placed tower objects and I made some minor changes to lighting.

I intend to add more health and armour, more tanks, more invulnerable Pacifiers, more Army Jeeps and perhaps add some more stunt jumps. I might change the location where extra footballs are stored. I won’t add massive numbers of new things because they make syncronisation problems more likely.

Minor Site Updates (3rd November 2005)

I added a couple of new links to the Links > GTA Modifiers page. I removed some useless links from the footer. I tweaked the heading tagline so it clearly explains that Grand Theft Auto is referred to as GTA throughout the site.

7,000 Posts on GTAForums (3rd November 2005)

I was checking the information in my forum profile and noticed it said I had 7,001 posts. I decided to update my accumulated posts graph to see how my activity had changed. I’ve been measuring my post count every few weeks and you can see that my post frequency (the gradient of the graph) has very slowly increased during the year.

This time last year I was banned from the forums, so I’m glad to see myself getting back into the community.

Efficient Abbreviations (3rd November 2005)

Now that the top of every page contains the complete explanation for what GTA stands for, I am going to remove the bloated code I use to make the abbreviation element compatible with Internet Explorer. I currently use this:

<abbr><span class="abbr" title="Grand Theft Auto">GTA</span></abbr>

This compatibility code looks a bit like keyword stuffing or keyword spamming, which are unethical Search Engine Optimisation. This may explain why my website has been getting worse rankings for GTA related searches recently - they penalise unethical practise. Hopefully, cleaning up the abbreviation code will make the search engines realise that I’m an ethical Web author and people will still be able to see what the site is about.