Duck and Cover Forum Index

  Duck and Cover  •  FAQ  •  Search  •  Memberlist  •  Usergroups   •  Register  •  Profile  •  Log in to check your private messages  •  Log in

 Support DAC!
 Interview with DarkUnderlord View next topic
View previous topic
Post new topicReply to topic
Author Message
Gimp Mask
Mamma's Gang member
Mamma's Gang member


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 3915
Location: cool running B)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:48 am Reply with quoteBack to top

This one was not planned at all, but my interview with Taluntain got me interested in interviewing DarkUnderlord as well because he is an important part of the DAC canon. We talked a bit about DAC, a lot about Codex and technical stuff, and there's some stuff about the forum wars as well. Many of my questions were a bit shit because I pretty much missed the forum wars, I did zero background research and have forgotten a bunch of stuff over the decades, all of which shows. Luckily he put a lot more effort into the answers than I did to the questions and kindly straightened me out over a bunch of misunderstandings. I'm in a bit of a hurry to work but feel like it would be wrong to withhold this interview from you guys longer than necessary so no fancy intro this time.

---

Gimp Mask: Can you tell us a bit about how you became invoved with the Fallout community?

DarkUnderlord: One day, many moons ago, before the fall of the God Emperor of Man and the beginning of the War to End All Wars, I walked into a physical computer game store (one built of "bricks" and "mortar") and saw a physical 3 dimensional product box for a game called "Fallout". The cover said it had turn-based combat. I knew of this turn-based combat for I had player X-Com Terror From the Deep and enjoyed it greatly. However I did not purchase that day. Instead, I spoke to a friend in high school who said he had played "Fallout" and "it was good", and thus, solely on this vague recommendation and notion of turn-based combat, I bought the game not long later.

Whilst playing said "Fallout" I encountered the Brotherhood of Steel, who sent me on a quest to "The Glow". The Glow was strange to me and a giant hole in the ground. And I swear I moused all over that hole but found nothing to interact with. And so, thus thinking it to be a trick, ignored the Brotherhood of Steel and ended up completing the game entirely with my 300% Speech skill.

But something felt amiss. The internet was new to my home, with my father having only recently acquired a modulator demodulator device, more commonly known as a "mo-dem". With this new tool I ventured forth onto the internet and googled "Fallout Getting into the Glow" (back in the days when all Google did was search the internet). It brought up a thread from a forum called "No Mutants Allowed" and in the midst I did find a mention about a rope on the beam. I instantly reloaded a previous save, found said beam, put said rope upon it, and then completed the game again with a slightly different ending. This time experiencing the Glow, the Brotherhood of Steel and some other parts of the game I had missed.

Some-time after that I started shit-posting on the NMA forums. And got into arguments with a user... X-something about the Iraq war (that is the second Iraq War, not the third one).


GM: How did RPGCodex get started and why did you decide to start the site? I would imagine it had something to do with how shitty all the other RPG-oriented sites were at the time (and possibly still are today, I wouldn't know because I don't care), I could be wrong though. Still it must have been quite an undertaking.

DU: After Fallout, I followed what the kool kids krowd were into and got into Troika Games. That lead me to get into modding Arcanum. Calis, the guy who setup Terra-Arcanum (TA) eventually asked me on staff to help out, given I knew bits about code. I learned most of my PHP and SQL from his hacks as well as Temaperacl who was on the Fan Made Fallout mod team which went the way of all good mods, which is to say defunct. Part of the TA forums was a super sekrit hidden forum for an RPG website project where Calis, Deathy, and Saint_Proverbius were talking. I even entered an IRC chat room once or twice to talk about it but ultimately pulled out of staff before the Codex officially launched, instead choosing to focus on Terra-Arcanum. It wasn't until a few months after launch, or maybe even a year later, that I officially re-joined the Codex staff.

From what I can remember, The Codex was started because Saint_Proverbius and Roshambo kept getting their asses banned on the official Interplay forums and wanted somewhere where we could all freely whine about how shit the combat system in the IE games was (because it is pretty shit). Calis took the code from TA and pretty much copy-pasted it over to create the Codex. And a man known as Rex Sol Invictus Exitium Cheong made the graphics. Which he's not allowed to have back.


GM: You're a bit of a controversial figure within DAC for some reason, I guess mostly because of the aftermath of the forum wars and how you instated that dickhead Smiley as an administrator (I mean I get it, I guess there wasn't a mountain of resum├ęs on your desk begging for the job nor did you probably have a lot of interest in going on some epic quest to find a more suitable person). Anyway do you think DACers are a bunch of whiny little bitches?

DU: Pretty sure I had nothing to do with the appointment of Smiles. DAC was all a Killzig, Killian, and Kreegle show. I only got involved after they had pretty much left and Taluntain needed some of the code updated so we could upgrade the version of PHP the entire server runs on (which impacts TA, the Codex, and every other site on the server).


GM: I pretty much missed the forum wars, I guess was too busy drinking and arguing with my ex-girlfriend-to-be. But I remember I hadn't visited DAC for ages, went to the site and the front page had these flying cocks all over the place which was pretty neat. Can you give us a quick recap of how the whole thing went down? For posterity's sake, or something.

DU: It was an inside job. A few DACers on the Codex were pissed at VaultDweller who started to nuke half the forum userbase because they weren't being serious enough. In response, the DACers got an inside man to appoint them admin, demoted the existing Codex admins, and started taking over the Codex with shenanigans. I came online, re-instated my admin powah because I can do that, and cleared it up. Calis decided to be safe and do a database roll-back of about a day just to make sure we got everything the DACers had done when they had admin access. That lead to the ultimate showdown between VD and DU over the future administration of the Codex, with VD leaving to focus on Iron Tower Studios and actually release a completed game.

In response to the DAC shenanigans, a Codexer by the name of zerotol used a known bug in non-upgraded versions of phpbb to gain control of DAC, taking racofer's avatar and putting him on a flying cock and using some css to fly it across the screen. He wiped the DAC forums, including the theme, and created Zerotol's Playground in retaliation for what was done to the Codex. I thought it was pretty fun but Taluntain complained about it so I cleaned that up too.

Part of this story may not be true but it's my story and I'm sticking to it. It was definitely all zerotol's fault though. Make sure you note that part down.


GM: In my interview with Taluntain he spoke of all the hard work you put into making DAC what it is today (and I mean today quite literally since no one's done jack shit since you left). I had a vague idea of your level of involvement but didn't know the full extent of it, and I'm pretty sure it came as a surprise to many of our members as well. But like I was saying before the interview, it's probably something the end-user doesn't have to think about when things are running smoothly, it's only when things go haywire and cocks start flying across your site when this stuff becomes apparent. Did you feel underappreciated considering the amount of time & effort you spent on the site?

DU: It is the great burden of an Administrator to be unloved and unknown. Only those who know, truly know the effort that goes on behind the scenes that allows people to shit-post in the internet without it all crashing down because somebody found an exploit in the quote pyramids.


GM: Was the reason you gave up on DAC because all the admins were AWOL anyway and basically there was no one left to give a shit about the site? Or had you just become too busy with the Codex and/or other commitments to pay any attention to a community that didn't seem to care about itself? You've always seemed like a pretty level-headed dude so I can't imagine you would have been too butt-hurt about the spam attacks, but then again the people who seem the most level-headed are the biggest psychopaths, I think I read this in Cosmo or something so it is an actual fact.

DU: I've never been much interested in DAC mainly because by the time I got involved, we had the Codex - where you could discuss not just Fallout or niche post-apocalyptic games - but other RPGs as well. With the original admins gone, and no-one really running content, plus there not being much content, the site pretty much just existed to run casino ads so Taluntain could take advantage of the ad revenue and pay for the server that the Codex sits on. It's a very symbiotic relationship.

I'm also more a coder, not a content guy. And on the internet, content is king.


GM: I joined the RPGCodex forum when it first opened but it wasn't just my thing, I kept reading the reviews and interviews every now and then but the forums are where the interesting stuff happens. I had a quick peek at the forums when I logged in to ask for this interview and the whole place seemed very foreign to me, but then it's been nearly two decades since my last post. How do you feel about the direction towards which the forum has been heading over the years? You must have had some sort of a vision for the community when you started the site; how does the actual community measure up to that vision today? I feel like online communities such as these RPG fansites are ever evolving organisms, there's no telling what sort of fucked up mutations will take place and many people are incapable of accepting the inevitable change, imposing their own value judgments on said changes (perhaps within reason though). But take DAC for example: the site is like an evolutionary mishap that for some reason refuses to go extinct. I mean we fucked it up several times to the extent of many site owners/admins abandoning it, yet here it still stands, tall and proud, stronger than ever, members prancing around the forums like hominids around the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about any more, just answer something ok

DU: Actually my plan of involvement with the Codex was to have a modding sub-site, which didn't really fit with what they were going for, hence my initial stepping out in the early days as I was focussed on modding Arcanum at the time. Which like all my mod projects, went nowhere beyond the "Arcanum Modding Tutorial" (AMTUT tutorial) tutorial.

All forum life sits on a pendulum, ever rocking backwards and forwards between the two extremes of CLAMPING IT RIGHT THE FUCK DOWN and EVERYTHING GOES. The trick is to find the balance and when it swings too far one way, knock it back the other. It can never be stabilised. Balance is a goal only achieved through the constant ebb and flow of life.


GM: You've been running RPGCodex for nearly two decades, and you guys have done an excellent job at adapting to the changes (I think Taluntain did a really good job of outlining those changes in his interview), and at this point the site's success is very much undeniable. I salute your achievements even though I don't even like the site. Did you ever imagine the site would reach the level of success it enjoys today?

DU: Nope.


GM: It must also be a lot more work to run the site with the amount of traffic it now receives; have you been able to delegate the workload adequately or have you had to put considerably more effort into the site personally? Or a bit of both perhaps?

DU: As Taluntain says, finding a competent coder who's interested and has the time is always a challenge. Anyone can install some forum software but if you want features beyond that it can get complicated to keep everything working. It's a lot easier these days with auto-update or one-click update systems but if there's something you really want, or you have a fuck-tonne of legacy shite that you've been carrying around for the last two decades, it usually means someone has to get dirty with the code somewhere. My only problem is I'm a procedural hack, not an OOP boy. And absolutely everything has gone OOP these days, so a lot of the code I just haven't bothered to understand.


GM: Can you get me FTP access to DAC's Wasteland subdomain?

DU: Talk to Taluntain about that.


GM: Now that you're aware that Duck and Cover is still a thriving, vibrant community comparable to RPGCodex, does DAC hold any nostalgic or sentimental value to you anymore, or do you feel completely detached from the site at this point?

DU: I was never really attached to it in the first place. Keeping it alive helps keep the Codex alive, and its a good coding test bed before I throw things at the Codex. Most of the systems I built for DAC ended up being used on the Codex and we're currently looking at the next iteration with XenForo 2 for all sites. Which will be a bit of work. There's always another upgrade coming though and the work never-ends.


GM: I take it you have zero interest in taking on any DAC duties at this point, but do you have any advice for the community from a technical standpoint if it wants to stay around for another two decades? As in, what would it take to keep this Castaway-esque rickety raft afloat or are we simply doomed to just keep on fucking the volley ball until it it finally reaches its breaking point?

DU: Either learn OOP (Object-Oriented Programming) for PHP and SQL for the technical side of things and CSS and HTML for the design side of things - or accept that all you'll be able to do is install some forum software and a portal, and rely on public upgrade tools, and possibly pay someone a few hundred every time you need to convert. It's not a bad path but inevitably something, somewhere, at some point, goes wrong. And you either have someone on hand who can fix it, or you pay money and hope they do the job for you.
View user's profileSend private message
Taluntain
Sorcerer's Place Admin
Sorcerer's Place Admin


Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 460

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 11:22 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Good call on interviewing DU as well, I was going to suggest that but you rapid-fired it before I got around to it.
View user's profileSend private message
Gimp Mask
Mamma's Gang member
Mamma's Gang member


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 3915
Location: cool running B)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 7:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm a bit embarrassed because this time around I didn't do any background research at all and pretty much winged it, I mean I'd completely forgotten that someone like Saint Proverbius even existed even though he was a big part of DAC as well haha. Luckily DU cut me some slack and gave some really good answers anyway, so it wasn't as bad an interview as it could have been, but yeah I kinda sucked.
Oh well Emote

At least I learned something from this interview: I had no idea "modem" was a portmanteau
View user's profileSend private message
SenisterDenister
Living Legend
Living Legend


Joined: 23 Apr 2007
Posts: 3128
Location: Cackalackyland

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 7:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Man I'm actually nostalgic about the forum wars, they seemed so long ago. It's really funny looking back on it, though. Informative read, again, and it's interesting to see more behind the scenes stuff. salute
View user's profileSend private message
Gimp Mask
Mamma's Gang member
Mamma's Gang member


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 3915
Location: cool running B)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 7:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I've got plans for more behind the scenes stuff but there will be also lots of ahead the scenes stuff too and that's not a threat it's a promise.
View user's profileSend private message
Hyacinth
Vault Elite
Vault Elite


Joined: 29 Apr 2015
Posts: 328
Location: DAK Oracle

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:35 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Yo no funneling of DAK-CASH into Codex now you hear!

Interesting read!
View user's profileSend private message
Gimp Mask
Mamma's Gang member
Mamma's Gang member


Joined: 18 Apr 2002
Posts: 3915
Location: cool running B)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hopefully the new forums will feature DAC Gold like Reddit Gold, except it will periodically be transferred to the Iron Bank of Codex so DU can go skinny dipping like uncle Scrooge. Except it's VIRTUAL currency and doesn't physically exist so the fall will literally kill him. R.I.P.
View user's profileSend private message
Taluntain
Sorcerer's Place Admin
Sorcerer's Place Admin


Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 460

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 11:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hyacinth wrote:
Yo no funneling of DAK-CASH into Codex now you hear!

Interesting read!

DU got that one a bit wrong, it was mostly DAC banner advertising that was beneficial for the Codex (there was only 1 casino ad on DAC in the last 10 years or so), but it's true that there's more of a symbiotic relationship between some of the sites that I host than is readily apparent, heh.
View user's profileSend private message
POOPERSCOOPER
Paparazzi
Paparazzi


Joined: 05 Apr 2003
Posts: 5028
Location: California

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 7:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Most of the RPGCODEX war was planned in #fallout between Nicolai, Naked Lunch and me. The blood of patriots is sometimes required for liberty.
View user's profileSend private messageAIM Address
SenisterDenister
Living Legend
Living Legend


Joined: 23 Apr 2007
Posts: 3128
Location: Cackalackyland

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:56 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Codex delenda est.
View user's profileSend private message
Display posts from previous:      
Post new topicReply to topic


Jump to:  



View next topic
View previous topic
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group