GMC forums upgrade

YoYoGames recently decided to overhaul the GameMaker Community Forums. Formerly run on IPBoard, they are moving to a new solution.

YYG did the right thing, by asking the community for feedback on how they’d like to preserve the historic threads in the old forum system. The old forum will be retained, frozen in read-only mode, with no sign-in allowed. I’m a bit concerned about not being able to log in any more, since it was easier to find content that I had posted or replied to that way. It would be nice if the forums could be read-only but still allow existing users to log in. But, as I understand it, the IPBoard has had many security problems, and so disabling login probably helps mitigate privilege escalation attacks.

When the new forum goes live, users will need to re-register their username. I had suggested that YYG reserve the user IDs of all existing users and send an invite email to them, to claim their old username. I don’t believe that this suggestion was adopted, however. It would have been a good thing, though, as there’s been concern that pranksters might claim famous user names from the old forums and impersonate users. Hopefully this will not be a big problem, but a way to either carry over the old user accounts or else reserve the account names and send invites to users to claim their old username would have been a great way to avoid the problem altogether.

Currently the old boards are down while the upgrade is happening. The migration is taking several days, during which the boards will continue to remain down. I don’t understand why it should take such a long time and having the boards unavailable for an extended time is disappointing; I would think that YYG could have the new forum software staged in a testing environment that could be moved to the live server with a simple press of a button to trigger an elevate script. Likewise, I would think that putting the old forums into read-only mode could be achieved without taking the forums offline at all. Why this wasn’t possible, or wasn’t the best way to take on the migration, I don’t know. There was a very active thread discussing this, but… it was on the old forums, which are currently down.

Based on what I read, it’s unclear at this time whether the url of the old forums will continue to be, and the new boards take a new domain name, or if the old forums will be moving to a redirected url. My hope is that the old URL will be preserved, so deep links to old threads will not be disrupted, and the new forums will have a new domain name. However, my guess is that the new forums will use the existing domain, and the old forums will probably be redirected, or simply moved.

It will be interesting to see the new forums, how they are organized and curated. Hopefully YYG have learned from the years they maintained the old forums, and will have many improvements. The biggest item on my wish list is to allow file uploads and hosting, so that project files no longer have to be hosted on external services, which tend to fall victim to link rot over time.

The developer community surrounding GameMaker has long been a valuable asset to YYG. In a lot of ways, it’s probably their best asset — the community has always been very helpful for helping new users solve problems and turn into seasoned, experienced programmers. Hopefully the new forums will continue this tradition for many years to come.

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