I was supposed to have some new mods available in August but am very behind. I'm hoping that now that funerals, vacations, and graduations are taken care of for the year (knock on all the wood), I will have time to get done with several people's load orders, knock out some compatibility patches, finish up Reconstructor and Ugh. Companions., play a video game, and just hang out and help out with load orders on Discord.
With all the IRL stuff that has gone on this summer--I've put over 6000 miles on my vehicle since May between vacation and out of state graduations and funerals-- I am nearly two months behind schedule on everything.
...Getting lots of Pokestops though. >_>
That said, there's a lot going on and still a lot to be done.
Twentieth of the Month Updates
The 20th of last month came and went, and I still don't know what happened to it. I still cannot get over that it is nearly the middle of September. Needless to say, I was too busy last month to do the monthly updates to the Survival Guide, but we should be continuing the updates as scheduled this month, and I'll have some new articles if you'd like to participate in discussions on Twitter, on Discord, or the comments sections on each article of the website. This month I'll be updating all the Guide's links to my website and continuing research to update and fix the formatting for the Framework section.
Website Maintenance and Official Website Launch
Starting at 4pm (CST) Monday, Sept 13, oddlittleturtle.com will be set to private as I do site maintenance, update the site's theme, and complete migration from the Wordpress.com journal to the new journal at the new domain (finally). All data and articles will remain on oddlittleturtle.wordpress.com until the full migration happens, then it will serve as a redirect to the new site until everyone is used to the new domain.
Quite honestly, I have no idea how long migration is going to take. Wordpress CMS is extremely different from Ghost CMS. I'm hoping it will only take a few hours to work out any jankiness. My local copy of Ghost seems to be handling things quite quickly, but I've broken the shit out of it and had to delete the full site and re-do it several times.
So we'll see how it goes.
If you happen to follow me on Twitter and see weird Twitter posts such as "Hi we're testing" or some such, feel free to start a drinking game with them! >_>
TLDR; ignore the new domain asking for your password. You don't have one. Turtle is a big, fat meany.
Help Us Launch
Once the site launches, please click on links on the website and do site searches for oddlittleturtle, fallout 4 load orders, and fallout 4 load order survival guide and website to let search engines know you need to have the information. Help us get to the top of search engines so everyone can receive the help they need for load orders.
It's been six years, but there's still some bad info carried over from Nexus, GameFAQs, and Reddit from when mod authors and Xbox players were still learning what did what, legal console modding for the game engine was totally new and there were no instructions accept those tucked away on the now defunct Bethesda forums, Xbox OG/S/X has very different graphics than PC and so cannot be modded the same way, deleted references and mod removal are a no-no in the new engine -- especially on console -- and some information was being carried over from FONV and FO3 that didn't apply at all to the updated engine.
Load Order Survival Guide Accessibility
The Survival Guide will be embedded directly into my website so you'll be able to access it from there, and it will still also be available from the Tiny URL short link. Embedding the doc into my site gives you access to a more complete Load Order FAQ, and will allow it to be better indexed by search engines. While I've done everything I can to make this embedding as responsive as possible for all screen sizes, it will be beneficial to readers of the document to have a screen larger than 780px to maintain document readability. Google docs shrinks the Guide's text to teenie-weenie-you've-got-eagle-eyes-with-no-issues level on screen sizes smaller than that.
The changelog will be maintained on the same page as the embedded document so everything is in one place.
Embedding it should make it easier for people accessing it directly from your Xbox. PS4/PS5 players, let me know if there's anything I can do to make the survival guide easier to access if you need it.
I have an extension in the works for MS Edge Chromium (for accessibility on Xbox), but haven't had time to do much of anything other than stare at my notes, and then run off to do more website stuff or travel. I cried when I started the Xbox One app. Being an app developer is not something I want to do (I want to make mods for people to play with), but if it helps people get the information they need I'll suck it up buttercup it.
Support Independent Publishing
The new site uses Ghost as its CMS, which is a blogging platform that promotes independent publishing with the objective of growing communities around the published works. If you're curious as to what this platform is, you can check it out here: github.com/TryGhost or ghost.org. Thank you, DAmanding, for suggesting it. DAmanding also uses Ghost on his website.
When oddlittleturtle.com launches, it will have memberships integrated so those who would like full access to the mod development journal, works in progress notes, and my play throughs will need to sign up. It's basically the same thing as Wordpress.com's "Follow the blog" feature, and you'll be able to receive journal posts directly in your email just like with Wordpress.com, except I'll be the one in control of the data you give me instead of a separate company.
The current Ghost theme is stupid slow and looks absolutely horrible at larger resolutions. It's embarrassing. The theme on Wordpress.com has been broken since May, but I have been unhappy with the look of any other themes available to free users and decided to migrate to my own domain name so have not updated. I apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this crappy design might have caused.
We've chosen a nice, open source Ghost theme that features membership, article, video, podcast, portfolio, and knowledge base sections. The new theme for the website is coded in ReactJS, which is much faster than JQuery and is fully responsive to all size devices.
Free and Paid Memberships
Site memberships are free and available to those 18 or older. You just sign up with your email.
I'm doing this for two reasons:
First, there are some things that don't belong in search engines, such as the mod development journal, the play through notes, fiction, and my works in progress notes. There isn't any reason to have those things indexed by Google or other search engines and Ghost will fully hide such things with its membership area.
Secondly, I wanted a "follow the blog" feature branded with my domain name without having to go through a service like Substack or Wordpress.com. Those that aren't interested in those things won't be signing up or searching for them in the search engines anyway.
All load order and mod information, and mod releases will remain available to everyone and to search engine indexing.
If you'd like to support the site and help me offset costs of keeping it live and ad-free, there's a paid membership option that basically turns the paid membership area into a Patreon-like blog, but with less tiers. I've never really liked the Patreon tiers since I really don't have anything to offer extra. I'm just a writer, and I feel uncomfortable as hell putting mod development articles and sneak peeks under a paywall.
I mean, if you want to donate to me to correct my spelling and grammar errors, I'm not going to argue. Like, at all. >_>
Additionally, Ghost doesn't take a cut of what you donate like Patreon does. That said, I'll be keeping my Patreon in case there are those who prefer Patreon. Anyone who would like to support me on my Patreon blog gets an automatic subscription to my website after the site officially launches. You can cancel at any time and adjust whether you want to be emailed journal entries by logging in with the account info emailed to you upon sign up.
Before anyone boos and hisses at me for paid shit: Right now every penny will be going into website costs. Maintaining a community presence with a domain and with a CMS like Ghost can get costly. It is not, however, as costly as going through Wordpress.com. I'm eager to see the community grow so that I can use any extra donations for licensing assets for mods and for charity work.
Since oddlittleturtle.com is such a new domain, if you happen to sign up for new articles directly delivered to you, BE SURE to mark any emails as NOT SPAM. This will help us greatly as we grow our brand.
Note that Ghost CMS does not have a 'digest' feature, and the newsletter feature to the platform is relatively new so there are a few kinks to work out. Ghost is open source and free software, and there's plenty of room for improvement. Subscribers to the site will get the 20th of the month updates articles for the Survival Guide (which will also be linked on Twitter and now Patreon) and any other new articles.
I'm not expecting to send out more than 5 to 6 emails per month, except during the month of November or if I'm focused on a project and excited about it so much that I have to write all the time about it. November is NaNoWriMo, and the month that I do daily updates in my November Writing Binge. You'll be able to turn off getting newsletters if this is not something you want. (I haven't decided if I'm going to participate this year, but can fully appreciate and understand if you don't want to be spam-a-lama-ding-donged about whatever it is I decide to write about.)
Your Privacy Matters to Us
The take-aways from the site policies are:
- If you sign up for memberships, we don't sell your data, share it with anyone, or make use of it other than for communication to you (and billing through Stripe.com if paid membership).
- Bulk mail for emails goes through Mailgun's API which is fully integrated with Ghost (and we have no say over this).
- We use Google Analytics and Short.io for marketing purposes to see what people are interested in to make the site better and provide branded shortlinks to my mods' pages on Bethesda and the website articles, but collect no personal data from either of those services.
- Cookies are used to tell your browser if you are using dark or light mode of the site's new theme and for a few under-the-hood things that keep the site functioning like it should.
- The AUP applies to both the website and the Armored Reptile Gaming Community so is worded accordingly and in-line with that of the TarshGaming's Code of Conduct and AR community server rules.
Please report any issues with the website to email@example.com. I'll need to know what type of browser you're using and what the issue is. I can then report it to the theme developer for either advice or for them to fix the issue.
Bug Reports and Suggestion Box
As for mods, if anyone needs to report an unexpected behavior or wants to suggest a new feature for Wasteland Imports: Updated or any of my other mods that are not in legacy status, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (for unexpected behaviors) or email@example.com.
Give me all the details you can (name of mod, which Xbox you have or PS4/PS5, what the issue is, what troubleshooting you've done, etc.) so we do not waste time going back and forth. You'll need to send me a link to your load order framework for unexpected behaviors. If the link isn't included, I cannot help you and will ignore the email. I'm not here to judge what mods you choose. I only want to help you and cannot if I don't know what's going on with your game.
I'll be checking those emails once a week.
My priority is and always will be for players to be able to have fun and not stress so much when playing. Life sucks. Moreso for some than others. To be able to just relax in front of the TV and in your favorite comfy chair is amazing after a hard day -- first responders, elderly care, hospice work, teaching a classroom of unruly children (or adults behaving as unruly children), emergency pet care, bad breakup, wedding day jitters, etc. Stress is stress and everyone handles it differently.
I'm really excited to share with you the things I'm working on so I do hope you sign up to follow the website once we get everything on the back-end updated.