The DISQUS WordPress plugin is awful

I doubt anyone actually reads the posts on this site, but hey, who cares? It’s just a place for me to rant.

Something that I’ve been meaning to do is change the comment system over to DISQUS as I prefer it in comparison to the default WordPress method. I also use the Twenty Fifteen theme, made by the nice guys over at Automattic. The theme is clean, simple, easily customisable, and something that anyone could use.

But unfortunately one downside of WordPress is that the plugins can be… just damn awful. I’ve seen far too many sites that are riddled with plugins. To quote The IT Crowd:

A good example of this is the DISQUS WordPress plugin. It would seem that it’s lacking in testing (being that it doesn’t work in WordPress’ default installation theme) and the code is just awful.

On that note, here’s how you fix it. Spoiler alert: you need to know how to use FTP and know a little bit about HTML to be able to apply this fix. If you don’t, then I’d recommend that you stop reading at this point, and go back to looking at hilarious pictures of cats.

It’s quite simple really:

  1. Open up your FTP client
  2. Navigate to the plugins directory of your WordPress build
  3. In the DISQUS plugin directory, open up a file called comments.php.
  4. At the very top of the file put: <div id="comments" class="comments-area">
  5. At the very bottom of the file put: </div>

That’s going to put a nice, theme-friendly white box around your comments and line it up with everything else. Problem resolved!

I’m not an official representative of DISQUS nor am I in any way affiliated with the company. But they seriously need to consider re-building this plugin, or I might get bored one day and do it for them.

A series of tubes…

Me: Over two hours to upload apparently
Erin: That’s quite awhile
Me: Yeah
Erin: I’m fairly sure I’ve asked this.. But.. What makes it take so long?
Me: Well, when an internet pipe gets clogged, it takes longer. And sometimes other pipes are affected by the same clog, so it’s harder to find an alternate pipe to use.
Erin: Is there a way to prevent or fix that?

A blast from the past

Well, I finally managed to get hold of a “vintage” keyboard. I say vintage; it’s really just an IBM Model M-esque mechanical keyboard. I’ve used an IBM Model M once before and I’m happy to say that the keyboard I have feels and sounds very similar. I took it to the office today which was great. It must have bothered everyone at least once with its volume (which is substantially louder than my Das Keyboard Model S), but I absolutely love it – both for programming and gaming.

It uses buckling springs under the keys rather than a typical switch which feels absolutely amazing. Its also got removable key legends which I didn’t realise when I bought it, so I’m going to see if I can get some blank ones for it.

I’ve put my Das Keyboard 4 in my home office to the side for the time being, which I hate to do because it’s still an amazing keyboard… however, I definitely want to spend some time with this keyboard; working on some projects and recording some videos.

Just a couple of things

I’ve not retired my search for a vintage keyboard – however, I have found an alternative. The guys over at The Keyboard Company have a number of decent solutions and I’ve found the one I’m going to purchase: an original IBM-style keyboard in black. It may not be a Model M, but it damn sure looks nice and I’m fairly confident that it’s going to sound nice too.

I might post an audio clip of the keyboard sound in comparison to my Das Keyboard 4 when I actually receive it.

I’ve also spent some time making sure the player movement in my game is exactly the way I want it. I want the player to feel comfortable playing the game; sort of like they’ve already played it before. Unique control sets aren’t fun because it’s just more to learn simply to play the game. So, for anyone who’s even remotely interested, here’s a short video clip of me testing the movement with my keyboard and with my wired Xbox 360 controller.

If you’ve got any thoughts regarding the game, then please feel free to let me know and I’ll be more than happy to look into it. It’s an early development which means new and original ideas are highly welcome!

The hunt for keyboards

As well as doing some game development, I’ve spent a lot of tonight looking at vintage keyboards. Currently I’ve got a Das Keyboard 4 at my home office and a Das Keyboard Model S at the work office, both with printed keys (which I’m now starting to regret). However for the past couple of months the true vintage, mechanical keyboards have caught my attention… a lot. The main focal point of this being the IBM Model M which is just wonderful.

Unfortunately, they’re very difficult to come by and most of the time very, very expensive.

So, moving on from that idea until it’s more viable, I remembered another one. The Das Keyboard II which had amazing reviews back in its prime. Again though, these are very hard to come by. I’ve sent a couple of e-mails around to see if there’s anywhere that would have any available, so I’m just going to wait on that front and see if anything turns up.

I even e-mailed the guys over at Das Keyboard and they replied almost instantaneously to my questions. Here’s a sample of the response with names redacted for anonymity:

Thanks for taking the time to contact us. I feel you – the DK2 does feel pretty sweet to type on. Unfortunately they’re no longer in production, so I wouldn’t know where to find any that would be in stock. Your best bet would be to look on sites like eBay or something of that nature.

Thank you for your kind words! We’re glad that you like our keyboards! Take it easy!

I guess I’m just going to have to keep looking and see if I can find one anywhere.

All it takes is perseverance

Regarding the issue I posted about yesterday, I’ve now managed to resolve it and I’m quite happy with the way I did it. I spent a lot of time looking around on the web for solutions. By a lot of time, I think in total I’d spent near around two and a half hours altogether trying to fix the issue.

After a final try last evening, I gave in and went to bed for the next working day. Some days, I’ll take my laptop to work with me if I’ve got a project of my own going on so I can spend some off-time on my lunch hour looking through it, making plans, etc. Today was one of those days that I took my laptop into the office with me and I’m glad I did, because within fifteen minutes of sitting down and creating a new solution, I’d gotten rotation mostly working.

There’s still one bug at the moment in which the player will revert 0 on the y-axis if the GameObject has stopped moving, but I’ve fixed that previously so it shouldn’t be an issue.

The solution was two lines of code that referenced a child GameObject of the current player. So, the child (which is the exact same prefab without the CharacterController component) is the rotation element of the player whereas the parent handles movement. Here’s the code for anyone who’s interested:

Quaternion wantedRotation = Quaternion.LookRotation(direction);
playerRenderer.transform.rotation = Quaternion.RotateTowards(playerRenderer.transform.rotation, wantedRotation, 600 * Time.deltaTime);

It might be a poor way of doing it… I’m not too sure, but it’s working and I’m happy with the solution. I’ll keep on developing the game and continue to post more updates when I’ve got more done.

Learning new languages sucks

If you’re a new programmer then there’s a chance that you know a couple of languages; PHP, C#, Java, Python, BASIC… whatever floats your boat really. Lately I’ve been working with C# in Unity to create the basic starters of what would be a 2.5 platform game.

What I forgot is that learning new languages bothers me to some degree. Not because I can’t do it, but mainly just because I’m out of my comfort zone. I’m very comfortable with PHP to the extent that I feel I know a lot about it, and I’m also somewhat competent with C#. However, I can woefully admit that I’m struggling with Unity’s scripting engine in the same language. There are just some things that I’m finding difficult to do (in this instance, it’s rotating a game object that represents a player based on it’s movement) – don’t get me wrong, I’m learning. But it’s a learning curve.

Maybe one day I’ll get there, but for the time being I’m just going to have to cope with the fact that I’m basically at square one again. Well, maybe two at this point, but I’ve still got a way to go until I’m going to feel comfortable developing large-scale games.

And for those interested in getting updates on the projects, feel free to check out my newly founded “company”, Astronomical Studios. That’s the alias that myself and an acquaintance develop games under.