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General Forum Usage
Forums, Threads and Posts
Registration
Searching Forums and Threads
Announcements
Thread Display Options
Viewing New Posts or Today's Posts
Rating Threads
Main Forum RSS
Cookies
Lost Passwords
Who is Online?
Contacting Other Members
User Profile Features
User Control Panel
Changing Profile
Signatures & Avatars
Private Message & Inbox
Subscriptions
Reading & Posting Messages
Posting New Thread
Replying to a Post
Editing and Deleting Your Posts
Creating and Participating in Polls
Attachments and Images
Smilies
Message Icons and Thread Prefixes
Moderators and Adminitrators
Reputation Points (Rubies)
  
General Forum Usage
Forums, Threads and Posts
What is a bulletin board?
A bulletin board is an online discussion site. It's sometimes also called a 'board' or 'forums'. It may contain several categories, consisting of forums, threads and individual posts.
How is all this structured?
The bulletin board as a whole contains various categories (broad subject areas), which themselves contain forums (more specific subject areas) which contain threads (conversations on a topic) which are made up of individual posts (where a user writes something). The board home page has a list of categories and forums, with basic statistics for each - including the number of threads and posts, and which member posted the most recent message.
How do I find my way around?
When you click on a forum's name, you are taken to the list of threads it contains. A thread is a conversation between members or guests. Each thread starts out as a single post and grows as more individual posts are added by different users. Threads can be rated to show how useful or popular they are and may contain polls.
To start a new thread simply click on the 'new thread' button (you may need the right permissions to do this).
Threads can be ordered in many different ways. The default is to have the thread with the most recent activity at the top. But you can easily change this ordering, for example to have the thread with the most posts at the top, or the highest rating. Simply click on the appropriate column heading at the top of the list of threads (Thread, Thread Starter, Rating, Last Post, Replies or Views). You can also reverse the sorting order by clicking the arrow next to the name of the active option. (Note that 'sticky' threads will always be at the top no matter how you change the viewing options).
Multi-page views
When there are more threads to display than will fit on a single page, you may see the 'Page' box, which contains page numbers. This indicates that the list of threads has been split over two or more pages.
This method of splitting lists of items over many pages is used throughout the board.
What are sticky threads?
'Sticky' threads are created by moderators or administrators, and remain 'stuck' to the top of the listing, even if they haven't had any posts recently. Their purpose is to keep important information visible and accessible at all times.
How do I read a thread?
To read a thread, click on its title. Each post in a thread is created by a member or a guest. You'll see some brief information about the member who created the thread above the main post message. In some cases it will be to the side of the post.
To post a reply to an existing thread, click on the 'Post Reply' button. If the 'Post Reply' button does not appear, it could mean that you are not logged in as a member, or that you do not have permission to reply, or that the thread has been closed to new replies.
If enabled, there will also be a 'Quick Reply' box where you can quickly enter a reply without having to go to the 'Post Reply' page. You may need to click the quick reply button in a post to activate the quick reply box before you can type into it.
On long threads you may want to change how the posts are ordered. For more on different ways to view and navigate threads.
Is there a faster way to get to forums?
If you know which forum you want to go to, you can use the 'Forum Jump' control, which appears at the bottom of many pages within the board.
How do I find out more about members?
To view information about a particular member, click on the user name. This will take you to their public profile page.
What is the Navigation Bar?
The navigation bar at the top of every page has links to help you move around. A 'breadcrumb' area at the top left shows where you are now. With one click you can reach areas such as: the User Control Panel, Active Topics, FAQ (which you are reading now), Search options, Inbox, Games, Who's Online etc.
What is the 'What's Going On' box on the board home page?
On the board home page you'll see a section at the bottom that tells you what's going on at the moment. It tells you things like the number of registered users online, the number of guests, and even things like birthdays, and forthcoming events.
Can I change the way the board looks?
You may be able to change the styling of the board by using the style changer in the bottom left of the page. This lets you choose different skins which change the color scheme and appearance of the board. If this option does not appear, the board cannot be restyled.
Registration
Why need registration?
The administrator will probably require you to register in order to use all the features of the forum. Being registered gives you an identity on the board, a fixed username on all messages you post and an online public profile.
Registration is free (unless otherwise specified), and offers an extended range of features, including:
  • Posting new threads
  • Replying to other peoples' threads
  • Editing your posts
  • Receiving email notification of replies to posts and threads you specify
  • Sending private messages to other members
  • Creating albums of pictures and comment on others' pictures
  • Adding events to the forum calendar
  • Setting up a 'contact list' to quickly see which of your friends are online.

  • How do I register?
    You register by clicking on the 'Register' link near the top of the page. You will be asked to choose a user name, password and enter a valid email address. In addition there will be some other fields to which you will be invited to respond. Some will be mandatory while others are optional. Once this is complete you will either be fully registered, or in some cases you may have to click on a link in an 'activation email' sent to your email address. Once you have done this you will be registered.
    Note that entering your email address will not leave you open to 'spam, as you can choose to hide it from other board users. You'll probably be able to allow other registered users to contact you via email, but the system won't display your email address to them unless you give permission.
    If you are under the age of 13, the administrator may require that a parent or guardian provide consent before allowing you to complete the registration process. More information about this is available during the registration process.
    Searching Forums and Threads
    How do I search for something?
    To quickly find a thread or post of interest anywhere on the bulletin board, click on the 'Search' link in the navigation bar at the top of most forum pages. Then, type in the keyword or phrase you wish to search for. By selecting posts, you will be shown only the actual post in which the search word appears.
    For more control over the search, select the combined query conditions from the drop-down box. The advanced search page allows you to restrict your search to individual forums, find posts or threads by user, etc. There are also options to find posts from a certain date, or threads with a certain number of replies.
    Announcements
    What are announcements?
    Announcements are special messages posted by the administrator or moderators. They are a simple one-way communication with the users and you can't reply. If you wish to discuss announcements, you will have to create a new thread in the forum.
    Announcement threads are displayed at the top of forum listing pages, above regular and sticky threads.
    Thread Display Options
    Can I change the order of posts?
    You have a choice over how you view threads. When you're in a thread, look at the top bar. On the right hand side you'll see 'Display Mode'. Click on this and it lets you change how posts are ordered.
    You have three choices:
    Linear Mode - posts are displayed chronologically, usually from oldest to newest. Posts are shown in a flat mode so that many posts can be viewed simultaneously. It is possible to change the ordering by changing your preferences in the User CP.
    Threaded Mode - a tree is shown along with every post. This shows you the relationship each post has to the others. It's easy to see who responded to whom. Only one post is shown at a time. By clicking on a single post in the post tree, the page will show that post and all posts made in response to it.
    Hybrid Mode - This is a mixture of the linear and threaded modes. The post tree is displayed as in the threaded mode, but many posts are shown at the same time as in the linear modes.
    Viewing New Posts or Today's Posts
    How can I see the latest posts?
    There are two ways to quickly view recently created or updated threads.
    If you are not logged in, the 'Latest Posts' area at the right bottom of the page will show a list of all threads that have been created or updated in the last 24 hours.
    If you are logged in, click the 'Active Topics' button in the navigation bar at the right top of the page, which gives you a listing of all threads that have been created or updated since the date given at the top right corner of the page.
    The administrator can also set up the forums so that each thread you read is marked in the database. If this option is set, then new threads (or threads with new posts) will not be marked as read until you have actually read them.
    There is a built-in time limit to this, however, that will automatically mark all threads as 'read' after a set number of day, whether you really have read them or not. The default setting is 10 days, but the administrator could make this higher or lower.
    Rating Threads
    What are ratings?
    The forums allow you to rate threads between 1 star (terrible) and 5 stars (excellent). Once enough votes are cast for a thread, stars will appear next to its name in the listings. These show the average vote, and can be an easy way to see which threads are worth reading if you are on a busy forum.
    On the forum viewing page you can also arrange threads by rating, with either the highest or lowest at the top.
    It therefore makes sense to rate threads because it helps all users. To do this, click on the 'rate thread' link at the top of the thread viewing page. Choose the number of stars you feel best represents the quality of the thread. You may or may not be able to change your choice of rating at a later date.
    Main Forum RSS
    Can I use RSS to keep up with new posts?
    If the administrator has enabled RSS syndication, this lets you view newly created threads in guest-viewable forums without visiting the board.
    Most modern browsers have facilities for reading RSS feeds and will automatically detect the availability of feeds on bulletin board pages.
    Cookies
    What is Automatic Login?
    When you login, you will be given the option to 'Auto Login'. This will store your identity securely in a cookie on your computer. If you are using a shared computer, such as in a library, school or internet cafe, or if you have reason to not trust any other users that might use this computer, we recommend you do not enable this.
    How do I clear cookies?
    You can clear all your cookies set by the forum by clicking the 'logout' link at the top of the page. In some cases, if you return to the main index page via the link provided and you are still logged in, you may have to remove your cookies manually.
    In Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP: Click the 'Tools' menu. Select 'Internet Options' from the menu that appears. Click 'Delete Cookies' on the dialog box that appears. It will be in the center area of the 'General' tab.
    In Internet Explorer 7 or 8: Click the 'Tools' menu. Select 'Internet Options' from the menu that appears. Click 'Delete...', beneath 'Browsing History' on the dialog box that appears. It will be in the center area of the 'General' tab. Click 'Delete cookies...' on the next dialog box that appears.
    In Firefox: Click the 'Tools' menu. Select 'Options' from the menu that appears. From the dialog box, select 'Privacy' on the left. Find 'Cookies' on the main pane, and click the 'Clear' button adjacent to it.
    In Safari: Go to Preferences, Security, then show Cookies and either select 'Remove all' or select individual cookies and then the 'Delete' button.
    In Opera: Go to Tools, Preferences, Advanced, Cookies, Manage cookies then select the name of this site and click the 'Delete' button.
    Your cookies should now be removed. You may want to restart the computer and revisit the forums to be sure.
    Other browsers may have a different method of clearing cookies. Refer to the documentation for your own browser if you are unsure.
    Lost Passwords
    I forgot my password. What can I do?
    If you forget your password, you can go to the login page and click on the 'Lost Password' button. This brings up a page where you should enter your registered user name and email address. An email will be sent to that address shortly, with instructions for resetting your password.
    Since passwords are encrypted, there is no way to resend your original password. This option provides you with the ability to reset your password.
    You must be able to receive emails to your registered email address for this to work. You may need to check your spam filters and folder if you do not see this email in a few minutes.
    Who is Online?
    Who is Online?
    You can click the 'Who's Online' button in the navigation bar to check it.
    What is the Members List?
    The members list shows the registered members of the board. Providing the administrator allows this, you can view the member list ordered alphabetically by username, by the date they joined, by the number of posts they have made or by reputation (?).
    You need to login first to view the members list. After login, click on 'Who's Online' button on main navigation bar at the top of the page. Locate your user name in the list and click on it, and then click the 'Members' link button on the navigation link at the up left page.
    Are all members listed?
    Some members may not be on the list. The administrator has options over who is shown on the list. They may, for example, omit members who have not made many posts or who belong to certain user groups.
    Contacting Other Members
    Can I email other members?
    It depends on if you have send email permission. You can either find them on the member list, or click the email user button on any post they have written if applicable.
    This will usually open a page that contains a form where you can enter your message. When you have finished typing your message, press the 'send email' button and your message will be sent instantly.
    Can I see email addresses?
    For privacy reasons, the recipient's email address is not revealed to you during this process.
    Why can't I send an email to someone?
    If you cannot find an email button or link for a member, it means either that the administrator has disabled email functions for this forum, or that the member has said that they do not wish to receive email from other members.
    Can I email a link to a friend?
    Another useful email function is the ability to send a friend a link to a thread you think they may find interesting. Whenever you view a thread, you will find some links at the bottom of each post which will allow you to send a private message or email to anyone you like, retweet/stumble the link or just share the link on Facebook. Your referrer ID is added to the link you send, so if your friend registers on this forum as a result of viewing the link you sent to them, your referrals total will automatically be credited.
    User Profile Features
    User Control Panel
    User Control Panel
    The User Control Panel (also known as the User CP) is where you control your personal settings, options and preferences. To visit the User CP, you must have first registered on the forums. Once logged in, click on 'Control Panel' in the navigation bar at the top right of the page.
    The User CP main page will list any new messages, including new private messages and notifications. Additional pages and forms allow you to control:
  • Your email address and password
  • Custom public profile settings
  • Private messages
  • Signature and avatar
  • Subscribed threads and forums
  • Changing Profile
    How do I change my user details?
    You can change your account information using the User Control Panel. Click on the 'Edit Profile' link button from within the User CP, you can set a number of required and optional details, some of which will be displayed on your public profile. With the exception of your email address, do not enter information that you do not wish to be publicly viewable.
    Signatures & Avatars
    What are signatures?
    Signatures contain information that you want to include at the bottom of all your posts. This might include pictures, links to your site(s), quotes, etc.
    What are avatars?
    Avatars are small images that people use to identify or distinguish themselves to other forum members. In some cases the administrator will not allow avatars or only allow them for specific members.
    The administrator can also provide some stock avatars people can use, or they can allow members to upload their own custom avatars from their own computers. These avatars will be displayed as part of the user info in posts, as well as in the public profile.
    How do I set signatures and avatars?
    You can set and change your signature and avatar in the User Control Panel (providing the administrator has made these options available).
    For signatures, click on 'Signature' under the 'Personal Profile' area of the navigation bar within the User CP.
    To select an existing or upload a new avatar, click on 'Edit Avatar' to proceed.
    Private Message & Inbox
    If the administrator has enabled the Private Messaging system, registered members may send each other private messages.
    How do I send Private Messages?
    Private messages work a little like email, but are limited to registered members of this forum. You may be able to include BB code, smilies and images in private messages that you send.
    You may send a private message to a member of this forum by clicking the 'New Message' link in the Messenger section of your user control panel, or by clicking the 'Send a Private Message' link at the bottom of the posts the member made.
    How do I work with Inbox folder?
    By default, you will have the 'Inbox' and the 'Sent Items' folders as well as a 'New Message' link under the Messenger section.
    The 'Inbox' folder contains all messages and notifications you've received. It allows you to view all the messages and notifications, along with the name of the person who sent it, and the date and time it was sent.
    The 'Sent Items' folder contains a copy of any messages that you have sent, where you have specified that you wish to keep a copy for future reference.
    Subscriptions
    What are subscriptions?
    Subscriptions are a way of keeping track of different threads or forums. You can choose how you are notified about updates - for example by having them listed in your User CP and receiving email updates for each one.
    How do I subscribe to a thread or forum?
    To subscribe/unsubscribe to a forum or thread, click the 'Subscriptions' link under the Personal Profile section on the User CP page. You will then have the option to choose the subscription mode for this forum and the threads. If the forum that you are subscribing to has any child forums (forums within a forum) then your subscription will be extended to these automatically.
    Reading & Posting Messages
    Posting New Thread
    How do I format my posts and messages?
    When posting messages you may wish to include some formatting such as bold text, italic text and underlined text. Adding formatting to your post can be done in two ways:
  • Using clickable controls similar to those found in most word processors
  • Typing formatting commands in BB code

  • Clickable controls are available in the Standard and Enhanced WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors. The difference between these is that the standard editor will show the BB code in your message and be processed when it is displayed. The enhanced WYSIWYG editor will show your message as it will be displayed while you are typing.
    To use these, simply click the button, for example the B (bold) button and then type to get bold text. Click the button again to stop using that formatting. You can also highlight text that you have already typed then click the formatting button to format existing text.
    BB code is a special set of codes similar to HTML that can be used in posts to the board.
    Replying to a Post
    Replying to a Post
    On some boards you might be able to post and reply as a guest user. But most communities require registration.
    As a registered user you can go to a forum on a board where you have permission to view threads and leave replies. To reply you have a few options. You can click on the 'Post Reply' button and add a new post to the end of the thread. Alternatively, you can leave a quick reply in a quick editor box listed below the posts in the thread.
    When using 'Quick Reply' you can choose to quote a particular post if you are replying to something someone wrote. You may need to click the quick reply button in a post to activate the quick reply box before you can type into it.
    If you want to post replies with quotes you can click the 'quote' button on the top right of each post first and the the make replies.
    Editing and Deleting Your Posts
    Can I edit or delete my posts?
    If you have registered and are logged in, you may be able to edit and delete your posts (although the administrator may have turned off this option). Your ability to edit your posts may be time-limited, depending on how the administrator has set up the forum.
    To edit or delete your posts, click the Edit button by the particular post. If your post was the first in the thread, then deleting it may remove the entire thread.
    Once you've made your modifications, a note may appear to inform other users that you have edited your post.
    If the edit time and date appear as a link you can click on this to see the differences between the original and edited versions, or between edits if there have been multiple edits.
    Can others edit my posts?
    Administrators and moderators may also edit your messages. If they do, there may not be a note telling other users that the post was modified.
    Creating and Participating in Polls
    You may notice that some threads on this forum also include a section where you can vote on an issue or question. These threads are called 'polls'.
    How do I create a new poll?
    When you post a new thread, you may also have the option to create a poll.
    This allows you to ask a question and specify a number of possible responses. Other members will then be able to vote for the response they wish, and the results of the voting will be displayed in the thread.
    An example poll might be:
    What is your favorite color?
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Sky-blue
  • Pink with yellow spots

  • To create a poll when you post a new thread, simply click the 'Yes, post a poll with this thread' checkbox at the bottom of the page, and set the number of possible responses you want to include.
    When you click the submit button, you will be taken to the poll creation page, where you can specify the question and the list of responses you want to include.
    You may also want to specify a time limit for the poll, so that (for example) it stays open for voting for only a week.
    How do I vote in a poll and view the results?
    To vote in a poll, simply select which option you want to vote for, and click the 'Vote' button. Sometime you can choose more than one option. You can see the current results for a poll before you vote by clicking the 'View Results' link. Voting in a poll is entirely optional.
    You may vote for any of the available options, or cast no vote at all.
    Note whether or not a poll is a public poll. If it is, any votes you cast will be attributable to you.
    Generally, once you have voted in a poll, you will not be able to change your vote later, so place your vote carefully!
    Attachments and Images
    How do I attach a file to a post?
    Once you've made a post, you can attach a file to your post by clicking the 'Attachments' button on the top right corner of your post page. Clicking 'Attachments' button will open a new window for uploading attachments. You can upload an attachment either from your computer or from another URL by using the appropriate box on this page.
    To upload a file from your computer, click the 'Browse' button and locate the file. To upload a file from another URL, enter the full URL for the file in the second box on this page. Once you have completed one of the boxes, click 'Upload'.
    Once the upload is completed the file name will appear below the input boxes in this window. You can then close the window to return to the new post screen.
    What files types can I use? How large can attachments be?
    In the attachment window you will find a list of the allowed file types and their maximum sizes. Files that are larger than these sizes will be rejected. There may also be an overall quota limit to the number of attachments you can post to the board.
    How do I add an image to a post?
    Use the same steps as adding files above. To include an image that is not uploaded as an attachment and is located on another website, you can do so by copying the full URL to the image, (not the page on which the image is located), and either pressing the 'Insert Image' icon or by typing [img] before the URL and [/img] after it, ensuring that you do not have any spaces before or after the URL of the image. You can insert pictures from your albums (?) in this way too.
    Smilies
    What are smilies?
    Smilies are icons that can be used in your posts to express emotions or feelings. You might wish to use these to show that you are happy, sad, joking, or embarrassed. For example, if you are telling a joke or being sarcastic you may wish to add a wink instead of writing 'this is a joke'.
    The basic smilies are the same as what you would find on any instant messenger system. They are made up of a combination of characters which often show the basis of the resulting image. For example, o:) is converted to a smiley face and :8- to an anxious face. Tilt your head to the left to see this in action as these consist of two eyes and a mouth either smiling or frowning.
    How do I add smilies?
    Some smilies can be accessed from the 'New Post' or 'New Thread' pages if your administrator has enabled this function. Clicking them will automatically insert them into your message. You can also type the character combinations for the smilies directly. A full list of the smilies and their character combinations used on this forum can be found here.
    On occasions, you may want to prevent the text in your message being converted into smilies. You will see a checkbox which you can select when you make a new post, which will allow you to 'Disable Smilies'.
    Message Icons and Thread Prefixes
    What are message icons?
    Message Icons, also known as Post Icons, are small icons that appear in the title of your post. If your post is the first in a thread, then they also display in the thread listings. If the board administrator has enabled these, they can be found below the message box on the 'New Post' and 'New Thread' pages. Simply select the icon that you wish to use and this will be displayed before your thread title.
    What are thread prefixes?
    Thread Prefixes can be used to further identify your thread as containing a particular content in the forum. If your administrator has enabled these, you will see a box before the title box which contains a menu with the available prefixes for you to choose from.
    Moderators and Adminitrators
    What are moderators and administrators?
    Moderators oversee specific forums. They generally have the ability to edit and delete posts, move threads, and perform other actions. Becoming a moderator for a specific forum is usually rewarded to users who are particularly helpful and knowledgeable in the subject of the forum they are moderating.
    Administrators are the people who have overall control of everything that happens on the board. They oversee how the board is styled, what forums to create and how to organize them, what information to require from members and who to appoint as moderators.
    Reputation Points (Rubies)
    What is reputation?
    User reputation in its simplest form is a ranking of how the community scores a user's benefit to the forum. A member's reputation level is simply calculated in the forum by reputation points, i.e. rubies, which are displayed within each post, just below the avatar and other user information (eg. Rubies: 100). Members may use their reputation rubies to download free tutorials and code files posted on this forum.
    How do I gain rep points (rubies)?
    Any post that contributes to the community in a positive way deserves positive reputation. In order to gain rep points (rubies), your posts must be meaningful, helpful, and thoughtful. Gain rubies by the following ways:
  • Signing up on this forum. You earn 3 rubies upon registration.
  • Posting new threads. You earn 3 rubies by starting a new thread.
  • Replying to other peoples' threads. You earn 1 ruby for every reply to others' threads.
  • Posting downloadable content (tutorials or code files) in the designated section Mobile Game Development > Programming Tutorials & Free Downloads. You may earn up to 10 rubies per post.
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