1 August 2012

More IT

Hot on the heels of creating the loot submission system I suddenly found myself in possession of a corp and proto-alliance unexpectedly displaced from its forums and comms. Alliances are meant to be more about a common goal and shared 'belonging' rather than just some badge beneath the corp badge. Part of making that so is having shared comms and forums to communicate through. For me, if I wanted the wormhole side of our former alliance to survive, getting a replacement for these things as fast as possible was essential.

After setting up an emergency TeamSpeak server on a box I have in London I had a quick check with what would be best to use for the forums. I pretty much knew the answer already but wanted to confirm there wasn't some better choice out there. As I turned out, I was correct and needed to get myself Simple Machines Forum with Temar's EVE API to allow API authentication. This would also allow TeamSpeak integration with the forums to ensure only forum members in the correct corps would be able to get onto our comms.

Having attempted to fight with the development version of Temar's EVE API already on behalf of Li3 Alliance it was with some trepidation that I re-approached the task. I was well advised that the 'stable' version of TEA is exploitable so I didn't really have any choice other than to win this time. Renting a cheap server to run it all on was easy. Installing SMF was also pretty simple with a nice, easy to follow installation interface. Installing TEA was also pretty simple once I found the link to the development version. Now came the battle to understand the way TEA's 'rules' work.

For some reason I found it all a lot easier to understand this time. You need to create the appropriate groups under SMF first and then it's a simple case in TEA to say "people in corp 226346106 go to group Z3R0R" and any new members will be put in that group. Piece of cake. So I set up rules for the main corp and the academy, created forum subsections, stuck a suitably dark theme on it and told people to sign up. Voila, one SMF forum integrated with new-style API keys thanks to Temar, whoever he is.

Next up was the TeamSpeak integration which I got myself a little confused over. I got the connection from TEA to TS3 sorted no bother and could see a list of available groups fine. I just could not figure out how on earth to make the rules apply to forum members and allow them access to the TS3 server. The sticking point was my impression that setting up TeamSpeak to use a database was optional. Turns out that this is not so. As soon as I got TS3 and SMF linked to the database everything just worked and people could register themselves with TS3.

So, what was left? Well some people had mentioned a jabber server. A number of Z3R0 were already hanging out on jabber.org but we could do cool things with our own jabber server. It turns out TEA only supports the Openfire jabber server. I battled with this for a while but it really wasn't up for running in the small amount of RAM available. Plan B - write my own authentication layer for some other jabber server. So some Python and a weekend later I rolled that out too.

Today our proto-alliance has all its IT needs taken care of. Just need to create the actual alliance in-game now.


  1. thanks for doing this! The consistency of communication across our proto-alliance has likely prevented the dreaded "phailscade". Hard to over estimate the impact good and secure comms have. Again, thanks for doing all of this, beers (and Quafe) are on us!

  2. There are no words sufficient to express my thanks.

    How strange is this. You became the CEO when the nullsec wing was established and Jade left for new pastures. Now you will become our Alliance leader after we were dumped. I hope so much that the future will reward your efforts with serendipity.

    ... and I hope I can help with it.

  3. Your effort it truly appreciated. Thanks!