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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:55 am  Post subject: The Future of Merqury City  
Ass-Kisser Extraordinaire
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Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2003 9:49 am
Rank: Ass-Kisser Extraordinaire
Location: P-Town in da NW
XBL: gondeeSSX
PSN: gondeeSSX
I am finally making a topic to discuss the future of the site. I will leave this topic up for a few months to be sure that everyone who still has an interest in the site will see it and can weigh in. After that, likely some time this summer, I will make a decision and move forward.

Where Merqury City was
When SSX 2012 came out, I invested significant amounts of money to create many custom mods that make the site so original. I found a great modder who worked with me at a reasonable price to create all these mods. In late 2013, the modder vanished with no warning. I tried many times to contact them and couldn't do so. It is difficult to find a good modder and therefore at that point I was stuck. I had to stop updating the board because our custom mods would stop working if I did. The normal upgrading process for phpBB can be very significant and in particular moving from major version to the next almost guarantees that your mods will break.

For those of you that wonder which mods I'm referring to, the following mods would likely break if I had updated the board:

  • Scoreboard
  • Rankings mod
  • Master Runs
  • Index Page
  • Forum perks, stuff like the medals and custom titles based on scoreboard rankings mod

Now our board has gotten so old that even basic features like making a post will now pop-up errors. It got particularly bad the last year that I had a difficult time even updating the scoreboard. Any time I tried to update it it would log me out of the admin panel. The last time I tried to update the scoreboard, what should have taken 20 minutes took me more than 8 hours. :eek

Where Merqury City is now
Many basic functions of the board are working but badly and there may be multiple functions that are critical to the site that aren't that I don't know about. I don't know what may break in the future, so it has come time to update the site. The next major upgrade to phpbb is 3.2. It contains many upgrades to the board software to put it in line with other major board packages. Again however, the major catch here is if I update it, the big features of the site will break. I have spent the last few weeks communicating with a modder who would upgrade our board mods to something that would work with the 3.2 package. After some preliminary work he has gotten back to me with a quote - and that leads me to my next concern:

Is it worth it?
So, it's time to lay my cards out on the table. If I'm being particularly honest here, Merqury City is dead. Like, super dead. We've gotten one post in the last week. I'm hesitant to spend a significant amount of money on a dead site. I have to put a good portion of the blame for the dead site on myself. I don't have the passion for web design I once did. I find it increasingly like a job where once it was my passion.

So why do I not have the passion for updating the site I once did?

1) The biggest one is a change in priorities. I'm not in my twenties anymore. The lifestyle that made it easy to log in every day and check in with the site isn't there anymore.

2) I didn't connect with SSX 2012 like I was hoping I would, so the huge amounts of work that sprung from that game seemed like more work than play. The activity level then died a few years after SSX 2012 and there isn't any additional hope that I can see about a potential SSX game. In fact, the current climate in video games these days with microtransactions and such makes it so that I DON'T want an SSX game to come out if it will be like Star Wars Battlefront 2.

3) The current situation with the scoreboard and the proliferation of emulators makes it extremely easy - EXTREMELY easy - to cheat at the old games and scam the scoreboard. I don't have the patience anymore to suss out whether a video score is legit. Video, at one point, was the 100% way of verifying a score. It is no longer - emulators can be used to cheat even a live run. The longer this goes on the easier it gets as emulators become closer to the stock Playstation 2.

The drama that has occurred the last few years over different players using emulators to get high scores and acting like they are using consoles has weighed on me. Tool-assisted runs are submitted as player runs. I'm not sure how many of the current top scores are actually legit. I'm sure most are - but if I have to play Sherlock Holmes every time we get a top 3 score it lessens my desire to update the site.

Because of this, most of the great players at the game now have separated from Merqury City and started their own community based around Twitch and emulators. They create custom categories with custom rules like many other speed runner communities and that is fantastic. I love watching them - but I don't have the patience to make sure every little change they make to their competition complies with our rules. I don't blame them for making their own community - I would too. But when all the onus falls on me to legitimize scores and most of the impression I get from emulator submissions is that they are fuzzy at best as far as compliance with our rules goes because of several different reasons, it makes it difficult to be a passionate about it as I once was.

So now onto to the bit where I need your feedback.

The future of Merqury City
I plan on keeping Merqury City open, so don't worry about us shutting down. We will remain open. But like I mentioned, we have come to a crossroads. Here are my two options:

1) I can update the bulletin board and lose the mods I mentioned above. Give me some feedback on if you would be okay with the site just having a bulletin board and nothing else. The posts would all be here, and we will be able to make posts and enjoy the updated features of phpbb 3.2 but the scoreboard, the Master Runs and other items would be archived. They would be available as static web pages for record-keeping purposes and would not be updated any longer. The fan-art gallery runs on a separate piece of software and wouldn't be affected.

If I don't get any feedback or don't get good enough feedback, this is the option I will take. I will update the forum to the newest version and lose the features I mentioned:

  • Scoreboard
  • Rankings mod
  • Master Runs
  • Index Page
  • Forum perks, stuff like the medals and custom titles based on scoreboard rankings mod

2) or I can pay several hundred dollars to update the scoreboard, Master Runs, Index page and other mods that give our community their flavor - but for a dead site. We would have all the features of 3.2 and the scoreboard and everything else, but it would be several months before this is done - the late summer at best.

I have a modder who is willing to do this - but I need feedback from the community as to whether it will be appreciated. If we continue our one-post-or-less a week rate, I wouldn't see this as worth it.

So please, give me your feedback. I will keep this topic up for several months and you can weigh in with your opinion. Let me know what you think!

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:48 pm  Post subject: Re: The Future of Merqury City  
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:53 am
Scoreboard Honors: 2
  • SSX Tricky: Overall: #2
  • SSX Tricky: Showoff: #3
Rank: Master
Location: Bergen, Norway
Glad you made this topic. I’ve been wondering at times for how long you will be willing to be commited to keep this train going. I can definitely where you’re coming from.

For me personally, I would be a little sad seeing many features go. Despite the issues we have with emulators, players on the both Tricky and 3 scenes can make new master runs in the future the way I see it. These are the first things that come to mind, will probably have to digest your post a little more.

EDIT: the ranking system is also part of the charm of the site imho. It is part of what makes Merqury City Merqury City.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:10 pm  Post subject: Re: The Future of Merqury City  
Zoe's #1 Fan
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Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 5:33 am
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  • SSX Blur: Racing: #3
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Location: Hitting at the big time
PSN: PabloYeti
Hi G

first thoughts from the above:

Without a new game to back up the site I totally understand where you are with all this. Personally I think you pay enough just to keep this all going and would not want you to take on any more cost than you already do. If by chance you could get in touch with EA and ask them directly somehow about another game and they say yes, then maybe the cost would be worth it.

We will still be able to post and the gallery is still about. Maybe its time to scale things back until hopefully some good news comes our way.

A pity Batty or TOTS cant appear like the sites fairy godmother and relight the flame once again. I know STEEP still seems to be going strong(?) but all the comments I ever see of that game is 'It's not SSX'.

Is it worth putting a poll on to vote for Mods or Board (with a vote change possible)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:19 pm  Post subject: Re: The Future of Merqury City  
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:53 am
Scoreboard Honors: 2
  • SSX Tricky: Overall: #2
  • SSX Tricky: Showoff: #3
Rank: Master
Location: Bergen, Norway
Just want to add, I agree with Yeti regarding the money aspect.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:51 pm  Post subject: Re: The Future of Merqury City  
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XBL: gondeeSSX
PSN: gondeeSSX
Yeti wrote:
Is it worth putting a poll on to vote for Mods or Board (with a vote change possible)?

I thought about that, but I'd like more substantive input than just selecting an option and then leaving.

Besides, the two options would essentially be:

Upgrade the scoreboard and other mods
or
Don't upgrade the scoreboard and other mods

I'm sure I know what people will pick if they just show up for a split second. :heh Especially given how long the first post is.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:46 pm  Post subject: Re: The Future of Merqury City  
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Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 6:58 pm
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Location: ITellPeopleI'mNotFrom, New Jersey
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Hey G

Thanks for the PM. Tbh I never post scores so that aspect wouldn't affect me in the least. If some people are determined to keep the scoreboards then start a go fund me and have them contribute to it. Youve spent so much time and money and have asked for nothing in return and we're all super grateful but you should keep your own interest in mind as well.

I'm sorry if my input is kind of useless. I do enjoy the message board though when I'm around.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:08 pm  Post subject: Re: The Future of Merqury City  
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XBL: gondeeSSX
PSN: gondeeSSX
A Sick One With A Smile wrote:
I'm sorry if my input is kind of useless. I do enjoy the message board though when I'm around.

I asked for your opinion because I value it, Sick One. And thanks for that, I appreciate it. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:52 am  Post subject: Re: The Future of Merqury City  
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Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2004 2:24 pm
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Location: I really don't know anymore.
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PSN: bakalhau90
Hello guys :)

Honestly, I want you to do what your heart feels like doing. You've done a lot for this community, and I completely understand how you're feeling right now. As others, I've wondered from time to time how long would you keep the site going, with how dead it's been. I think you should make the call without me trying to steer you into one or another way - one of your options involves spending a lot of money, and as you mentioned, with us being now in a different period in life, I understand how hard it is to make some money, and one has to wonder if that money is better spent somewhere. And we're at a point I can't ask you for anything more, because you've done more than anyone else would have done.

I can only really leave an opinion, and support you in whatever is the decision you make. My opinion is that it's not justifiable to spend more money updating parts of the website that aren't being actively participated in. If you look as a whole to the website, it really is dead in all places, but the forum is the forum - it's indispensable for me, even if I'm not participating anymore and even if it's dead. I would like it updated and working for the rest of my life. I can live with the rest being an archive.

Things can change quickly in the future. The website got a huge boost when the newest SSX was announced and looking back, it got more posts in its forum category than SSX3, despite not being a classic.

If anything like that happens again, and you know we'll gather here again, and you know we'll put our name on every other forum and place we know, then maybe you can put in the money once people are actively participating again.

I'll be keeping an eye on this topic. Cheers everyone :)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:07 pm  Post subject: Re: The Future of Merqury City  
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:53 am
Scoreboard Honors: 2
  • SSX Tricky: Overall: #2
  • SSX Tricky: Showoff: #3
Rank: Master
Location: Bergen, Norway
After reading the comments above, I see that my opinion differs from other people, and I have the feeling option 1 is what we’re gonna end up with, and that is most fair to gondee. So, like gondee, don’t feel pressured to spend a lot of money.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:31 pm  Post subject: Re: The Future of Merqury City  
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:35 am
Rank: Master
Location: Portland, OR, USA
XBL: Omoikane x8
Oi, been awhile.

I haven't been a "regular" here for a long, long time not even counting the brief times I would come back when a new game was released. So my opinion probably shouldn't have as much weight as some of the others but I figure I will weigh in anyway.

I, as well as everyone else I'm sure, appreciate your dedication and commitment to the SSX series and particularly the fandom and this site. There is no doubting that you have already put in a ridiculous amount of time and money into this site and I don't ever recall you asking for any sort of donations to keep the site going. Hell, you haven't even resorted to using ads.

I understand the Scoreboard is an important part of the site and a crucial part of the game for some people. And really, that's probably the most important (possibly only, imo) mod worth considering. Unfortunately I do not think it is worth it for you to pay hundreds of $'s of your own money to save this feature. Especially in light of the issues you've brought up about the ease of scamming the scoreboards, the difficulty in verifying legit runs, and with how dead the site is.

And I absolutely DO NOT think you should be blaming yourself for the "death" of the site. I don't think it has so much to do with anything you have or haven't done. The internet is very different from back in the day. Forums are not really a popular form of socializing on the internet anymore. Game culture is different too. The fact that this site is still around and that you are still dedicated to keeping it alive in some form at all and that people do still come here, however infrequently, is worthy of note as it is.

And as long as the forums are still around there will, presumably, always be the options to add the mods to the site again if the franchise does make a comeback in the future.

For those reasons I'm very much in the Option #1 camp, fwiw. I do agree with Sick One though; I think as an alternate to Option #2 you should set up a GoFundMe or whatever and allow people who might be willing to pay for these mods to pay for them. It's probably worth gauging interest at least.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:10 pm  Post subject: Re: The Future of Merqury City  
SSX Tricky: Racing: #1
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  • SSX Tricky: Racing: #1
  • SSX: Showoff: #3
Rank: Contender
you could ditch the scoreboard and have the site link the to the google sheets scoreboard we have and declare that as a pseudo-official rank. we also use a google form as means of submitting scores and times so it becomes efficient and you could potentially link that as well.

for those who wanna know what im talking about, here is our community made ssx tricky google sheets leaderboard:

race mode: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13ecAJ_SDlw03dxctAUY36-dkl8XwWXjNtLBJTmdvCQ0/edit?usp=sharing

showoff mode: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AWfrI8Crr8KICTWSD-lSlkFLedPf0N-Rxb2vvQbJQKg/edit#gid=0


i know it looks kinda dull comparably to the merq scoreboard, but this was made only a year ago. its moderated by me and my brother and were always looking for new ways to update the look of it. leave your suggestions for what we could change about it!

and this is just for tricky alone, we could make leaderboards for every ssx game, who knows! its not finished yet, but if you see colored numbers on the points systems, heres what they mean:

blue = video
yellow = submitted directly through google form submission
grey = screenshot
red = claimed, no proof

so yeah, thats my suggestion. if you have any questions about the leaderboard, ask me anything

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:20 pm  Post subject: Re: The Future of Merqury City  
SSX 3: Showoff: #1
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  • SSX 3: Showoff: #1
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Gondee! Thank you for PM'd me about this topic! we are in a crucial moment now and i'm happy that we can participate of the decision about the future of merq! i have some things to talk about it and my opinion is , that the mainly reason of the inactive of the site is that are not updated properly ( the SCOREBOARD mainly) we know thats not your fault, the servers are old and you can't update properly ( as other things like master runs and ect) but if it was fixed, the people will migrate back here to submit scores and this is what make the site alive , the spirit of competition, not only for the top 3 players , but for any people, that want see his score there in the scoreboard, people keep playing ssx games a lot , and thats why here are inactive now, so i believe that if it was fixed the site will raise again step by step, so we found another problem , as you said , the expensive price of it, is expensive to fix that things as you said but, man , i think that the solution for this is donations.

you can create a way for comunity donate money for this objetive to halp you to fix the site, me and a some other people have interest in donate if it will save the ESSENCE of merqurycity that are the scoreboard, INDEX page , master runs , and soo....

also we have another queston to think about: you are in another moment on your life and don't have the patiente and passion as in the past to keep updating the site as you did across all this years,


and man, i totally understand you man, i don't imagine how hard could be hold alone all the responsibility of the website, and you did it so well in almost two decades, it is we ( me and all merqcity people ) really respect and appreciate all the work you has done so and i think that teh comunity are not surprised with are happening now, myself wondering for years in how much time you could keep putting your own effort to keep this site working , it's admirable, but i desagree about the site become "superdead" , the site are still alive, cause i'm sure that have tons of people like me , that visit this site almost everyday, and even that post anything , still visit here , and watch old master runs, and want subimit scores, but we visit in silence due the updates be so rare in nowdays, but is not your fault as everybody know, but i believe that with a site working well , the activit will grow up since i can see a lot of new players apeearing in the other internet sites as discord twith and youtube and reddit, so i have an sugestion to you Gondee, maybe be the time for you pass or at least share the moderation of merq for other people , have some really indicate canditates in my opinion taht love this game so much and this will guarante the longer life of this site that we love so much! is delicate this issue but i think that could be necessary the maturation of this idea, also , we could do a LOT of things for merq yet, I still play this game and i have a lot of new scores that i want subbimit, also, if everything goes good and the site will be fixed, we can make an timeline of the merqcity story from the first old legends in ssx, Xcon have A LOT of material archived on his pc and an unbelievable knowledge about the merqcity story, this could be put in highlights of the site in the future to keep the old master memory saved.. well, have a tons of great things that we can do for merqurycity yet, and i'm willing to do anything else to save merqurycity, maybe donations be the solution here for now , and maybe an new moderator with you Gondee could be the solution to make Merqurycity live longer !

ps: you should put this topic in the mainly page of the Site , ins't better?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:42 am  Post subject: Re: The Future of Merqury City  
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Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2004 7:06 am
Rank: Master
Location: Inside Kaori
PSN: jonipooon
Thanks for the pm, g. Much appreciated that you took the time to give us your current thoughts and plan for the site.

I'm with most of the others here, there's no need to feel pressure. When I first saw the title of the thread, I thought you were considering shutting the whole place down! But as long as we can still keep our posts and continue posting, that's totally fine by me.

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