The 100 Rads

The 100 Rads

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This blog is where you'll find news and updates concerning the Zone Survival Guide - Shadow of Chernobyl and the Zone Survival Guide - Call of Pripyat.

The Zone Survivors are...

Zone Survival GuidePosted by Dawnrazor Sep 08, 2010 21:14:32

Drumroll, please! Ok ok, never mind... who's ever seen a drum in the Zone, anyway?

It's time to announce the winners of the Zone Survival Guide competition. A while back I asked you to send in any suggestions you could think of, regarding the Zone Survival Guide - and fortunately for me, some of you decided to send in your thoughts and ideas.

The first prize is going out to someone who made an excellent suggestion. The decision has been mine alone, based on whatever I thought made sense... I've received some really good ones, and I think that I'm definately going to explore many of them once I get some more time on my hands. Sadly, only one could win and it's a suggestion that is simple, direct and very true; the winner of the first prize is skeksistower with the following:

"The stashes page would be infinitely more useful if you could include even a bit of information on where one might learn about the stash in game - whenever this is possible, of course."

While not totally useless, the Stashes page and the Interactive Maps currently provides no information about where or how to obtain stash locations. That is a serious flaw in the ZSG; I'm not sure if I'll ever get time to remedy this severe lack in information, but it definately something I'll keep in mind for any possible future Survival Guides.

The next two prizes are given out to two persons who sent in suggestions. The draw has been made from everyone who entered the competition (except for skeksistower... sorry!) and has been completely random, chosen by one of my old roleplaying dice!

The second prize, consisting of the three S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, goes out to Dimitroff! Dimitroff actually sent in some very good and detailed suggestions as well. One of them, entitled "Run-downs and links for the major mods for all three of the games" is about having a dedicated mod section on the ZSG; Dimitroff elaborates:

"Aside from the legendary (and still immersive) Shadow of Chernobyl, the unmodded vanilla versions of CoP and CS had only managed to secure my attention for a couple of playthoughs each before I got bored. It was the mods for the games that kept me hooked. Whereas some fix bugs, update textures, balance gameplay, or do similar, minor tweaks, some (like Priboi Story), change the storyline of the game entirely. Due to the amazing success of these mods, I scarcely play vanilla at all anymore, and neither do most of my friends."

The third and final prize - S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky - goes out to Zeno. He sent in two suggestions; one of them focuses on more information about the weapons in the games, demonstrating weapon effectiveness, hits-to-kill, spread, and other detailed information - all stuff I would have added from the beginning if I had only thought of it ;) He also shares the suggestion about an extended focus on mods for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, something I can only agree with.

With my personal congratulations to the winners that concludes the competition! Thank you for participating and taking your time to think of and send in your suggestions! It's been a treat reading through them all and it has certainly given me alot ponder for future expansions of the Zone Survival Guide!

Competition update

Zone Survival GuidePosted by Dawnrazor Sep 05, 2010 10:12:36

I apologize for the late update. My "internets" sort went out the window yesterday, and I've spent my time since then crying and shaking in a corner. It's a weird and empty feeling when you can't access the WWW.

Anyways, back on track. The competition has ended and I will be looking at the entries over the next couple of days. Sadly, I've got a busy schedule at the moment but I hope to reach a decision by wednesday. I'll also make the random draw once I've decided on the no. 1 prize winner. I will make the announcement here, and if you're one of the lucky winners I'll also send an e-mail your way.

Thanks to everyone who has taken part in the competition. It's been fun and from what I have seen so far, I also got both some really good and some funny suggestions.

And now for something completely different...

Zone Survival GuidePosted by Dawnrazor Aug 26, 2010 19:50:34

And then not so different after all, as we're staying on the Zone Survival Guide topic. I'd like to point you towards a new addition to the sites:

And before you scream: "Why, oh dear lord, why!?" or possibly "Aren't you creating a guide for Call of Pripyat?" I can tell you that it is in fact an old addition to the ZSG. The Far Cry 2 survival guide was created about 18-20 months ago, a good while before the ZSG went down.

The site was never really advertised, and the original Zone Survival Guide for Shadow of Chernobyl didn't inlcude any links to it... so I'm pretty sure it was unknown to the world that the site even existed; and for some strange reason, I couldn't get it added to Google either - and if Google doesn't know about a website, no-one does. While not 100% correct, there is alot of truth to this.

Since the Zone Survival Guide was recently brought back to life, I thought I might as well add this one for Far Cry 2 as well... I had already created it, and it was just gathering dust - so why not get it back up and running. I have no idea how big a player base the game has these days, but since alot of people are still playing alot of older games, I guess there's a chance someone is still playing Far Cry 2.

For those of you who are interested, you can find the Far Cry 2 Survival Guide here:

http://farcry2.zsg.dk

I'll probably get it "officially" into the ZSG network soon, but until then it'll remain hidden here, where no-one will ever find it! :)

Competition time - update!

Zone Survival GuidePosted by Dawnrazor Aug 21, 2010 13:15:26

Just a small update regarding the competition... when you send in your suggestions, please state your name as well so I know how to "refer" to you in case you win. It doesn't have to be your real name, so if you frequest forums you can use your "display name", clan name, or whatever...

Also, I will return a "receipt e-mail" when you send in a suggestion so you know that I've received your e-mail. If you don't receive such a "receipt" within a day or two after submitting your suggestion(s), please send them again or get in touch with me.

That's all... keep the suggestions coming! Thank you :)

Competition time!

Zone Survival GuidePosted by Dawnrazor Aug 19, 2010 21:02:06

With the release of the next Zone Survival Guide for Call of Pripyat, I've decided to create a small competition. A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough that someone from the community was kind enough to help me resurrect the old ZSG, and even went as far as to pay for hosting the website. So I was thinking that perhaps I should give something back to the community as well.

The competition is quite simple:

All you need to do is e-mail me with one or more suggestions for the Zone Survival Guide. While it doesn't have to be about the website, I guess that's the most obvious thing. But any suggestions related to the Zone Survival Guide are welcome. My e-mail address is: dynduo@hotmail.com

I will give out a prize to the one with the best suggestion, or make a draw between those with the best suggestions in case there are many equally good ones, or if you came up with the same one(s). This is my decision alone and will be based on my thoughts of what could best serve or improve the Zone Survival Guide.

I will, however, also make a random draw between anyone who simply enters the competition, so you can just e-mail me with a suggestion about changing the font or use more purple, and you'll be among the possible winners.

But if you're going for the best prize, you'll have to come up with something more useful. You are also free to send me more than one suggestion, however once the draw is made you'll only be listed one time - so if you've sent in a dozen suggestions you'll still have the same chance of winning as someone who just sent in a single one.

I hope to receive some good suggestions but I cannot make promises at this point about actually implementing them; if you suggest that I visit Pripyat myself and document the journey on the ZSG, that might not actually happen even though I find the thought appealing... but I guess I'll just have to see once I actually get some suggestions.

The competition is open from this point on and until midnight on the 3rd of September. That gives you roughly two weeks to think of something clever ;) As mentioned, you are free to send in as many suggestions - silly or not - as you'd like.

There are a total of three prizes; the winner of the competition will be the one with the best idea, and he or she will receive Prize #1 (see below). The second and third prizes will be given to two persons randomly drawn from everyone who entered the competition. You can only win one prize, so if you win the first one, you're out of the random draw.

The prizes are:

Prize #1: THQ Ultimate Box Set, consisting of 9 games in all their glory (ie. no dumbed down jewel boxes or missing manuals).

The box includes:

1. Company of Heroes
2. Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
3. Frontlines: Fuel of War
4. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
5. Supreme Commander
6. Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance
7. Titan Quest
8. Titan Quest: Immortal Throne
9. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade

Prize #2: A copy of the three S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, ie. Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat.

Prize #3: A copy of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky.

All the games are english or worldwide editions on DVD, all completely new and in their plastic wrapping. Sadly I could not get a hold of any special editions of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, so they are just the regular versions. Sorry!

Obviously, the final requirement for participating is that you'll need to provide me with your full name and full, physical address if you win. I need to ship the prize to you and can only do so if I know where you live. Also, you must send in your suggestions through e-mail, using an address I can write back to - I need to get in touch with you if you win.

After the end of the competition, midnight September 3rd, there's probably going to pass a few days before I make any announcements... but I'll keep you posted right here as we go along.

I look forward to some funny and hopefully excellent suggestions as well! :)

It's back... so what now?

Zone Survival GuidePosted by Dawnrazor Jul 15, 2010 23:40:18

Wow, what a tremendous relief. The Zone Survival Guide just went back online at http://www.zsg.dk and it feels good. In fact, I think my brain just released a dozen different chemicals into my body; or perhaps I'm feeling the influence of the Brain Scorcher. Hmm, I sure could go for some brains right now!

Ok, time for me to get a grip. As you may know, the ZSG went offline earlier this year as described in a previous post; I had pretty much let it go by then, but after LoboTheMan got in touch with me, I must admit that I have been anxious about getting the Guide back online. The last week or so has been busy in many ways, so finally seeing the site up and running again sure does feel good.

But it does spark some questions. What now? Where should the ZSG move from here, and what should the focus be? How about starting two more sites for Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat?

Well, to be honest, I'm not sure right now. I think I need to let the chemicals wear off before I do too much thinking, or before I go "New project" in my website editor for that matter.

But I guess I could ask you those questions. What should the Zone Survival Guide be like? What would you like to see?

Interactive maps

Zone Survival GuidePosted by Dawnrazor Jul 15, 2010 14:31:20

A new feature that is being added to the Zone Survival Guide is interactive maps. Well, technically it's not really a new feature since I began working on it back in 2008, but because it was never made public I guess you can call it new. Kind of. And while I'm nitpicking, I guess the name "interactive maps" is not really precise since there's not much you can actually do with the maps besides exploring them... perhaps "dynamic maps" or "detailed maps" would be more appropriate; but alas, I've settled on a name and for now I'm sticking with that.
The interactive maps allow you to explore key areas of all the different regions in S.T.A.L.K.E.R., such as Cordon and Garbage. They currently hold information about factions, enemies, mutants, stashes, items in the open (stuff just waiting to be picked up), missions, and general information that is not covered by the previous categories.

I guess my vision is for these maps to include as much information as possible. Unlike many of the other pages on the ZSG, the maps are not dedicated to one type of information and can thus be expanded to include all kinds of useful things - locations of unique armors and weapons, targets of optional missions, where to find traders, etc. To speed up the process of creating the maps and adding information to them in particular, I've developed a small tool I call the "STALKER Map Editor".

While the tool was intended for creating the interactive maps, the "technology" behind the tool and the maps is actually pretty generic so perhaps I'll find other uses for it. I would love to make the tool available sometime, but at the moment it's kind of a single-user application; it saves each map as a separate file and there is no easy way to merge two maps or work collaboratively on a single map. But the thought of it is pretty cool, and it would open up for the possibility of all of you seasoned stalkers contributing to the ZSG in a neat way... but I guess that's for another time and place.

Anyways, while there is still alot of work to be done on them I hope that you'll find the new interactive maps useful and perhaps even interesting. If you have any ideas or suggestions for new features or other ways to improve the maps please leave a comment or send me an e-mail. Cheers!

Welcome to the 100 Rads

Zone Survival GuidePosted by Dawnrazor Jul 14, 2010 11:36:42

Greetings and welcome to the 100 Rads, the place where you'll find news and updates regarding the Zone Survival Guide.

Now, if you've been following the Zone Survival Guide over some time you'll know that it has been haunted by a number of downtimes. For the most part these has been minor outages that lasted usually a couple of days, a week perhaps. However, earlier this year the Zone Survival Guide disappeared for good... well, almost, seeing as it's currently making its way back online.

About a year and a half ago the hosting company for the Zone Survival Guide was taken over by another company. I believe the original hosting company was pretty small, at least when I needed to contact them about support and other issues I usually wrote directly to the owner through e-mail. Needless to say, a company that allows that has got to be either pretty small or quite un-organized. Over time I got the feeling that they were both. Anyways, the new company that took over seemed alot more professional; they had web support, an online ticket system, and dedicated employees to handle support issues.

I was quite happy when I learned that the Zone Survival Guide would "switch" over to a new hosting company. Sadly though, the problems seemed to move along with the website. Only a few weeks after the move, the ZSG again suddenly disappeared from the web. Fortunately, contacting the hosting company was pretty smooth, and I soon got an answer explaining something about an "error in the DNS configuration" or somesuch. The site came back shortly after. I crossed my fingers and hoped it was just a lone bump in the road. Sadly I was mistaken. More downtime followed and more support tickets were created; in the beginning the replies from the hosting company made sense but over time they were reduced to "we're looking into it" or "try again".

The last straw came in early February. The ZSG once again disappeared and once again I created a support ticket. After two weeks, without a reply, I contacted the hosting company to ask them if they were aware of the issue or if they had even read the ticket. No reply. I sent them another e-mail but again I got no reply.

That's when I decided to just let it go. I know it sounds like a very simple thing to do, but it was in many ways heartbreaking. Not just because of the time I had spent on the site, but more because of the dedicated community that was following the ZSG. The forums had gathered quite a number of followers, and it was a steady growing resource of information regarding not only the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games but also everything directly and indirectly related to them.

Fast forward to the 1st of July, 2010. I got an e-mail from a guy called Mark asking if I would consider getting the ZSG back up and running again; he'd even be willing to pay the hosting company. Let me be honest, I did not see that one coming. For a number of months I had considered the ZSG dead and buried. But it made sense, getting the ZSG online again at a new hosting company, and one that actually knows what "reliable" means.

A few e-mails back and forth and it was set in motion. I scrambled to piece together the site again, realizing that I had about three different backups from different time periods covering various parts. Fortunately I had most of the original source and media files, however certain things were missing. To my luck it turned out that Romulous from the GSC forums had at one point made a local copy of the original ZSG, and thankfully still had the files lying around. After a shared effort by Romulous, Mark and myself I got my hands on the files, the last piece of the puzzle so to speak, and has since then been working on getting the site back into a complete state. Hopefully it's just a matter of days now before the site is relaunched.

So, here we are. The Zone Survival Guide will soon have a new home here at http://www.zsg.dk. Stay tuned for more news and updates!