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HereÆs a thing most B5 fans should find a little interesting at least.

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  • #16
    can`t seem to get it working in Firefox... bummer.
    "The trouble with being a cynic is that you eventually get labelled as a highly reliable fortune-teller"

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Shabaz View Post
      The only alternative I could think of would be something like Silverlight. But Flash is fairly ubiquitous (even my Linux box runs a pretty decent, up-to-date Adobe provided implementation of flash), Silverlight absolutely isn't. I suppose you still have Java applets, but Flash is pretty lightweight compared to the JVM that needs to kick in when you open a site with an applet, and you really don't want to use applets unless you really need 'em.

      Omahastar's complaint notwithstanding, Flash is probably the best platform for interactive content delivery today, and has in recent years become probably my favourite platform for embedded multimedia. (dunno if it's in the currently public version, but I know they announced a while ago that the then future version would have support for h.264, putting it on par or beyond any of the dedicated video embedding solutions (usually WMV or QT these days, sometimes Real))

      The only bad thing about flash is that it sometimes encourages bad website design, a pretty good example actually being the current official WB B5 page. But I don't think any problems with this page are tied to the little flash ships in specific. There is an over reliance on javascript to get one page to do probably too much though. One of the results I guess being that, despite the fact that flash is a pretty small part of the pages, since they all get created by these javascripts and the scripts check on flash, the entire page fails without flash. I probably would've split the website up more, or used some server-side scripts (e.g. PHP) to achieve some of the dynamic page generation you seem to have going there.
      Truth is this is the first and only web site I’ve put together and I really buggered up with the coding. Basically jumped in and started coding (using the path of least resistance) and about 2 months in realised I’d gone running off in totally the wrong direction (basing things on IE). I don’t have time right now, but I downloaded a copy of Opera, started back tracking some of the problems and 99% of them are really simple fixes that won’t take too long. Though the code is such a patchwork of ideas (done over a fair length of time) it will probably be easier doing it from scratch. Controlling the Flash animations are likely to be the most awkward thing to do, but then again, it’s only awkward until I find a more elegant solution to what I’m doing with them. (yeah – as you surmised, I’m trying to externally control flash through java rather than using something generated in flash, guess I need to look at it a bit closer)


      One of the silly problems highlights a pretty irritating thing about putting a web page together that has a bit more to it than filling in tables. Although there are plenty of STADARDS (lol) to follow, the (makers of the) individual interpreters all seem to be striving for their standards to be universally accepted. Take something like Opacity. No security issues here, but the syntax to set it up is different for Firefox, IE and now Opera.

      I should have really mentioned (instead of vaguely implying) this is a beta version of the thing. The page layout is a throw back to an earlier design that was never intended to hold that amount of information, so it is pretty clumsy. I threw it out onto the net as I have to take a break from it and thought getting some feedback on the contents would be handy to have. I already knew that the Opera users would take a hissy fit (which is fair enough), didn’t know anyone was so pissed of at Flash though.

      What I was really more interesting in was things like, is it worth including more concept art from the designers (like the original concept Ron did for the Vorlon transport in that hotel in Gilroy), is there any particular thing(s) that people might want the answer to that has been bugging them about the CGI for example. Is the front page too cryptic. The trivia idea on the ship info screens was, I thought, a nice thing to add, but is it, or is it just an unnecessary addition. How’s the tone of the thing. Anyone missing that really should be included on the site. Stuff like that.

      With regards to what you said in an early post concerning the layout - couldn’t agree with you more. I’ll be taking a hammer to that before the final version gets put togther.

      As a beta it only includes some of the content gathered from some of the contributors . . . . . . .there’s more.

      So, it’s a given I’m an idiot that hates Macs (actually I’ve never been too fond of them, bit of irony there). But given that this is a discussion forum relating to Babylon 5 I’ve got to admit I’m a little surprised that the actual written content of the thing, which is all unique stuff and from a different perspective, hasn’t sparked of any discussion or questions other than me being the aforementioned insensitive putts. Lol

      [edit]
      It works fine in Firefox. Try disabling the click to play option for flash files. That seems to be something that some forget about. You can't get access to the files on the site so you can't click it.
      Last edited by Triple F; 02-05-2008, 03:23 AM.

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      • #18
        Hey Triple F

        I cannot believe the negative feedback you got on this forum from my fellow posters.

        Let's get a little perspective here people. In fact a bit of shame might be in order.

        Triple F clearly has a deep and unabiding fascination for all things B5

        A labour of love was undertaken to put together a massive comprehensive database and present it

        Obviously hours and hours of work was put in to coding it and building it to their very best ability

        It is presented to us in a humble manner, but in a way that also reveals Triple F is proud of the creation.

        Our response is to criticize coding??????

        I will only speak for myself and I hope others may join me in saying

        Holy Smokes! This is an amazing piece of work that you should be damn proud of!!! I spent hours on the site in the fascinating detail, with each element reminding of an episode a scene, or the feel of the show. it is not often something new comes around for me in the B5 world that can delight and entertain and inform me for hours.

        Thank you very much.

        Mac
        Last edited by Macbeth; 02-05-2008, 06:09 AM. Reason: spelling

        Comment


        • #19
          Totally agreed. I spend my days working with web standards, and whilst they have their place and reason, occasionally they can stifle innovation. Kudos to Triple F for a top site, and the research he did into creating an amazing resource with some great source material.

          The attitude in some of these posts is a bit pathetic really, when you consider what he's done.

          And I'm a Mac user. Does it run in Mac Firefox ? I can run other flash sites on my mac fine (... like Youtube)



          Originally posted by Macbeth View Post
          Hey Triple F

          I cannot believe the negative feedback you got on this forum from my fellow posters.

          Let's get a little perspective here people. In fact a bit of shame might be in order.

          Triple F clearly has a deep and unabiding fascination for all things B5

          A labour of love was undertaken to put together a massive comprehensive database and present it

          Obviously hours and hours of work was put in to coding it and building it to their very best ability

          It is presented to us in a humble manner, but in a way that also reveals Triple F is proud of the creation.

          Our response is to criticize coding??????

          I will only speak for myself and I hope others may join me in saying

          Holy Smokes! This is an amazing piece of work that you should be damn proud of!!! I spent hours on the site in the fascinating detail, with each element reminding of an episode a scene, or the feel of the show. it is not often something new comes around for me in the B5 world that can delight and entertain and inform me for hours.

          Thank you very much.

          Mac
          "Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance."
          -- Lyndon Baines Johnson, February 11, 1964

          -- "Gun's don't kill people, rappers do" The GLC

          Comment


          • #20
            Honestly I don’t know.

            Like I said, it’s the only site I’ve put together. When the early version went out (a bit over a year ago) it was, believe it or not the first time I even heard of firefox and other browsers. I really don’t spend much time on the net. So I fixed it for FF but missed Opera, will fix that in the final version.

            In fact if there are people on here with a variety of browsers and are happy to test the final version (and get a sneak preview before I release it let me know, and when the time comes you can test it for me.

            Part of the problem is, believe it or not (because I don’t browse that much) I still have a 56k connection, makes spending hours hunting for resources, downloading browsers and just spending the time to find half decent sites that highlight the differences in browsers . . . . . awkward.

            It took bloody hours to up load that lot. Lol.

            [edit]
            Going back to help with testing it. I don’t know if there is much differences in the same browsers using different platforms: Linux, OS/2, etc. but if anyone is using different operating systems and don’t mind giving the final thing the once over that would be cool.
            Last edited by Triple F; 02-05-2008, 11:02 AM.

            Comment


            • #21
              I want to echo what Macbeth said. I can't believe the negative feedback either, and find it kind of saddening. It's an amazing site, it's funny, and the new content is pure gold from a fan perspective. A huge amount of the history of the creation of the show is recorded in those interviews, and that record alone is a hell of an achievement.

              And it's fascinating stuff. Now I know all about camera roll, explosions, creating a nebula, what's his face's technomage shuttle , how JMS interacted with the effects guys, and how they all coped before the internet was what it is now. If you hadn't collected all this there might never have been any authoritative record of this aspect of the show's production, and a lot of this history might well have been gone forever.

              (Incidentally, the site works perfectly on Internet Explorer on my PC, which is after all the setup that a significant majority of people actually use..)

              Amazing

              Comment


              • #22
                I'll check it out on my Mac at home, I've about 7 browsers on there .

                Considering how little you profess to know about web design, you've done a great job.

                Was reading through some of the extended replies, it is fascinating stuff. Many many thanks
                "Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance."
                -- Lyndon Baines Johnson, February 11, 1964

                -- "Gun's don't kill people, rappers do" The GLC

                Comment


                • #23
                  Well, for me any criticism I've had wasn't with the intention to bring Triple F down. Like I said, it really is because the content is so neat that I really do want to browse the site, and would like that experience to be as painless as possible. And to offset my bitching about the layout; I actually do quite like the Extended Replies pages by themselves, with the film roles to the side and all that. Guess I'm a fan of minimalist design and K.I.S.S. design in general.
                  Originally posted by Triple F View Post
                  Truth is this is the first and only web site IÆve put together and I really buggered up with the coding. Basically jumped in and started coding (using the path of least resistance) and about 2 months in realised IÆd gone running off in totally the wrong direction (basing things on IE). I donÆt have time right now, but I downloaded a copy of Opera, started back tracking some of the problems and 99% of them are really simple fixes that wonÆt take too long. Though the code is such a patchwork of ideas (done over a fair length of time) it will probably be easier doing it from scratch. Controlling the Flash animations are likely to be the most awkward thing to do, but then again, itÆs only awkward until I find a more elegant solution to what IÆm doing with them. (yeah û as you surmised, IÆm trying to externally control flash through java rather than using something generated in flash, guess I need to look at it a bit closer)


                  One of the silly problems highlights a pretty irritating thing about putting a web page together that has a bit more to it than filling in tables. Although there are plenty of STADARDS (lol) to follow, the (makers of the) individual interpreters all seem to be striving for their standards to be universally accepted. Take something like Opacity. No security issues here, but the syntax to set it up is different for Firefox, IE and now Opera.
                  I've done some websites that I wanted to work in IE, FF, Opera and Safari, so I sympathize. Getting stuff to line up nicely targeting different browser CSS box models is not very fun.

                  A workflow that seems to work reasonably well* for people targeting all major browser is to just target a more standards compliant browser initially. Then run the code through the W3C validator and make sure you really are being standard compliant. And then start adding code handling quirks so that everything is happy on IE too (this is probably still the most used reference for that). E.g. this is their page for opacity (if you're using JS like you, here if you're using straight up CSS). Which involves using the standard "style.opacity" element and the IE "style.filter = alpha()" element. It seems you're using moz-opacity there; you should be able to just use "opacity" there instead of the deprecated moz- variant, which should make it work on all non-IE browsers.

                  *and with reasonably well I mean that people still tear their hair out, but do do seem to get stuff working... more or less

                  I should have really mentioned (instead of vaguely implying) this is a beta version of the thing. The page layout is a throw back to an earlier design that was never intended to hold that amount of information, so it is pretty clumsy. I threw it out onto the net as I have to take a break from it and thought getting some feedback on the contents would be handy to have. I already knew that the Opera users would take a hissy fit (which is fair enough), didnÆt know anyone was so pissed of at Flash though.
                  From what I remember from the new B5 website thread here, Omahastar kind of has a thing against Flash in general. I'm sure she has good reasons for it, but I wouldn't take it too personally. And it is the right choice for the type of content you have (the 3d ships).

                  What I was really more interesting in was things like, is it worth including more concept art from the designers (like the original concept Ron did for the Vorlon transport in that hotel in Gilroy), is there any particular thing(s) that people might want the answer to that has been bugging them about the CGI for example. Is the front page too cryptic. The trivia idea on the ship info screens was, I thought, a nice thing to add, but is it, or is it just an unnecessary addition. HowÆs the tone of the thing. Anyone missing that really should be included on the site. Stuff like that.
                  I love all the little jokes you put in the ship info screens, they give the site a nice sense of fun. As for the front page, I mostly dislike having to click on two things every time I decide to load up your site before I can actually do anything. And hell yeah, I would love to see more of the actual genesis of some of the show's design work, it's fascinating stuff.

                  As for things about the CG that have been bugging me... well, what I personally find fascinating about B5 is how it gives you basically a window in time of the development of usable television CG, from barely holding up in places with the original Gathering (though with some really neat design work still) to still looking pretty decent today with the later seasons. It gives a great view of the period where CG basically went from rarely used and risky to mainstream and the obvious choice. I found the stuff about them hand-animating explosions and talking about the move to procedurally animating that really interesting, and things like the bighullgrey thing with them seeing how low a bit depth they could get away with while still having it look good were fascinating. I would love to hear more about their perspective of this period where both the technology developed to allow them to do more and more, and where the industry kind of came into being, with them trailblazing.

                  I guess as a tech-geek I just find the evolution of that really interesting. Like a lot of the stuff talked about in the Paul Bryant Q&A, with them possibly doing the first on-screen morph, and selling this pitch partly on the power of this new technology. And the interaction with the lightwave folks. Is there anything about modeling techniques used during B5 on your site, and how that evolved? That's kind of the basics, and I would quite like to read more about it.
                  With regards to what you said in an early post concerning the layout - couldnÆt agree with you more. IÆll be taking a hammer to that before the final version gets put togther.

                  As a beta it only includes some of the content gathered from some of the contributors . . . . . . .thereÆs more.

                  So, itÆs a given IÆm an idiot that hates Macs (actually IÆve never been too fond of them, bit of irony there). But given that this is a discussion forum relating to Babylon 5 IÆve got to admit IÆm a little surprised that the actual written content of the thing, which is all unique stuff and from a different perspective, hasnÆt sparked of any discussion or questions other than me being the aforementioned insensitive putts. Lol

                  [edit]
                  It works fine in Firefox. Try disabling the click to play option for flash files. That seems to be something that some forget about. You can't get access to the files on the site so you can't click it.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Just so you know personally I didn’t think you were being overly critical it’s the reason why I was really replying to you earlier on. You were making valid points. I just raised the lack of comments on the content as it seemed a bit unusual not to discus on a discussion board.


                    The guys are very different . . . . duh. Ron for example, and he’ll probably never talk to me again because I’m mentioning this, comes across as someone who doesn’t feel comfortable being complimented. I think that might be the artist bit him. He’s also not the greatest typist in the world. Whereas someone like Mojo or Paul can rattle of a great reply in 5 minutes.

                    Some of the things Luc (another good typist) wrote gives a good insight into how he approaches a design. If you look as something like the screens behind the Drakh ships and the First Ones he did (or just the bits under the extended replies). With regards to the more technically oriented content, there’s not a lot, at least in one place. I guess that’s partly down to who I asked what questions. But it’s a good point that you raised, I’ll focus on that side of things a bit more. I was (clearly) not spreading the subjects evenly. That’s why I wanted fresh eyes to look at it.

                    Some small examples though are Larry Bowman and how he introduced Lofting to a few of the crew, I think that’s behind the older Minbari Cruiser.

                    Ron touching on procedural textures behind the Shadow Fighter (I think), or why the Icarus represented a milestone for him. WARNING the screen behind the Icarus is NOT work friendly.

                    Paul and the early network in their back rooms behind the Copernicus (lol that reads funny), or touching on the different approaches of B5 and Trek producers behind the Lumati transport.

                    Behind the Asimov Ron said something that I wasn’t expecting when I asked about why the CGI wasn’t done in widescreen. There's probably more scattered about

                    And before you say anything, spreading some of the content around like that was deliberate, and it’s staying in. .

                    But like I said cheers for mentioning that.

                    I’ll also give some of those sites a gander when I have more time.
                    Last edited by Triple F; 02-06-2008, 04:33 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Shabaz View Post
                      From what I remember from the new B5 website thread here, Omahastar kind of has a thing against Flash in general. I'm sure she has good reasons for it, but ...
                      "she"?
                      "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

                      The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by OmahaStar View Post
                        "she"?
                        Ah, guess not. Apologies. Either I've mistaken you for someone with a similar name, or my Internet Gender Detection Device (a.k.a. my super spotty memory) must have malfunctioned. Which really isn't all that uncommon, I'm afraid.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Well, I’ve looked into this browser problem in a fair bit more depth. Though of course could very well be missing something obvious, but as best as I can figure the dynamic loading of flash files into a single page is not supported by all browsers – that, and some minor syntax variations is why it doesn’t run of some.

                          There IS a couple of ways to do it including the dreaded VB (which I’m using now) but I can’t find any way to do it for every browser. I’ve read Flash 8 has an improved interface with whatever package is running it that looks like it might/could resolve the problem, but I ain’t got it and it wouldn’t get round the problem of those that refuse to view sites that contain flash files.

                          Amazing.

                          Anyway, the final version will have an option on the front screen. One for IE and Firefox users and one for the others. This second option will be able to run on ALL browsers but will have none of the few remaining bells and whistles (It will also be the one those who have a dislike for Flash can choose as well : ). Not an ideal solution but should be workable.

                          So, back to the original question. Basically (for those that can view it) anything missing that you’d like to see on it, or more or less continue along the same lines with the other contributors (with a little more on the early history and tech developments as Shabaz mentioned).

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Did you take a look at UFO? Seems to do everything you want; graceful failure, cross-browser compatibility, and fairly straightforward usage with JS. Apparently it is even compatible with IE5, for the poor sods stuck with that. Just threw it at FF, IE7, Opera, and Safari, and it does all seem to work quite nicely.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Ooooooooo, that does look interesting.

                              Playing around with the embed tag (though not technically compiant) was one of the ways I was looking at it but was getting a headache while trying to figure out the coding (even seriously considered iframe for half an hour). This might be the thing though. Will take a good long look at that (when time allows).

                              I think Shabaz is a name that’s going to be in the list of people I’ll be thanking in the final version.
                              Last edited by Triple F; 02-11-2008, 12:49 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                finally got to see it one my laptop.. it`s a lovely site and the ship descriptions gave me a real dose of the giggles, well done indeed
                                "The trouble with being a cynic is that you eventually get labelled as a highly reliable fortune-teller"

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