Everyone’s abuzz on the Zelda Universe Forums about the new changes that have just been implemented. I’d like to take this opportunity, then, to explain the changes that have been made to the forums – as well as shed some light on the future of some features on the boards. If any of that intrigues you, please read on.

New Feature #1: Live Threads

Live Threads, or Live Topics, are brand spankin’ new to ZU. In essence, it turns a normal thread into a pseudo-chatroom. While a thread is live, it will automatically load new posts with AJAX – you never need to refresh the page. So, if you’re writing a post and someone posts before you, that post will load and you will see it without refreshing. That way, you can alter your post accordingly for the new reply. It’s a godsend when trying to keep up with fast-paced discussions on the boards.

Threads remain live so long as there is a new post every five minutes or less. If a thread does not get more than one post every five minutes, it will cease to be live and revert back to a normal thread. Normal threads can be made live again by getting two replies within five minutes of one another.

New Feature #2: Live Feed of New Posts & Threads

Another AJAX feature we’re introducing is a live feed of new posts and threads. It uses the same technology as Live Threads to bring you automatic and constant updates about new posts and threads on the forums. Posts will stream down the table, like a waterfall, as they are made – older posts disappear and fade away at the bottom of the page. It’s an interesting and useful take on ZU’s usual “New Posts” page, which many people are fond of.

We have not, of course, gotten rid of the old New Posts page – so if you loved it like a sibling, it’s still there. The New Posts button on the top navigation has been changed to a dropdown menu to accomodate. The menu options now read:

  • New Posts and Threads (Live Feed)
  • New Posts (Static Page)
  • Today’s Posts

The first link will take you to the new page I just described. The second two will take you to the old and familiar, yet static, new posts pages.

Upcoming: Friend Code Support, Gamertags + PSN + Steam, etc.

If there’s one feature on the forums that has been a thorn in my side ever since it was introduced, it was the Friend Codes plugin. This was actively maintained by myself alone, and I was literally the one to develop it and add new features to it. However, it became very difficult to maintain and I’ve since thrown it away. I’m on the lookout for a much better, more feature-complete plugin for friend codes, XBox Live gamertags, Steam ID’s, and more. For now, I apologize – friend codes are off the boards until we can find a suitable replacement plugin. Hopefully this will be in the very near future. I’ll make an announcement when it happens.

Upcoming: News Feed on the Forums

If you’re reading this, you might not be a forum regular. In fact, many forum regulars don’t even bother to come to the main site since they’re so busy with posting and whatnot. So we’re going to fix that – sometime in the future (we don’t exactly know when, because this has to be developed in-house) there will appear an elegant ticker at the top of the main forum index. This ticker will display summaries of the most recent three or four posts from the main site, with pictures as well. It will be compact, neat, and hideable.

Development on this began quite a while ago, but the project never moved forward. I’m going to be making a push now to get it done so that those on the forums too lazy to look for news on the main site will be able to simply read a ticker at the top of the boards! You’ll even be able to click on it and go straight to the news post in question.

All-around Upcoming: Dropping IE6 Support

This one actually pertains to both the main site and the forums. I am officially announcing that Zelda Universe will, after the next month or so, no longer actively maintain layout fixes for Internet Explorer 6. The browser has become too antiquated, and it’s a hassle to provide fixes for it when our staff could better be spending their time writing content and articles for you guys. Within the next week a notice will appear at the top of the main site for all IE6 users urging them to upgrade to IE8 or switch to a more modern browser.

I hope this has offered a great glimpse into the future of the ZU forums. You should run over to the boards and check out all this stuff now, if you haven’t! And if you’re not a member of the boards… well, why the heck aren’t you?! Go register right now.

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