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LEGO Military, SW Republic Commando, and Shop Updates

Posted by Saber-Scorpion, 11 June 2008 · 7,069 views

SSL Update LEGO Shop Decals Nova Refuge

Boy, have I been busy lately. And yeah, I know I say that all the time, but I guess that's because I just keep getting more and more busy as time goes by. And I only expect it to get worse before it gets better. At any rate, I do have something to show for my efforts this time...

- In the LEGO section, you will now find a link to the Modern Military Special Force minifigs my brother recently made. Check 'em out, if you haven't already:
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- Also in the LEGO section, I've added something under (gasp!) Star Wars. This may come as a bit of a shock, so get ready:
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- And finally, last but not least, a HUGE UPDATE TO THE SHOP. The link in the banner above should now lead to the new location: http://www.saber-scorpion.com/shop
In addition to MANY new products scattered throughout the Decals section, I've totally rearranged everything into packages, like they were when I first began selling my decals. I know many of you may not like this chage, but it had to be done. My business has been REALLY picking up lately, and while I really appreicate the extra work, it has been taking up more and more of my time, since it takes so long to put together huge orders of so many individual little decals. The use of packs and sets like I have now will greatly expediate the processing of orders and allow me more time to work on new products and other projects for the website... not to mention college, which I will be returning to next year after a two year break. So I appreciate your continued support, and if you can't find a package that suits your needs, just let me know and hopefully I can put together some new ones so that everyone gets what they want.
On the plus side: Shipping is now free on ALL decal orders (though this may change in the future - so take advantage of it while you can!), and thanks to my new and far easier PayPal processing method, there is no longer an extra PayPal fee. Enjoy!

- Well, maybe that wasn't "finally," since I have one more thing to say. I know I've made a hundred different promises on a release date for my upcoming novel, Nova Refuge: Warrior Born, but none of them have ever come true. In fact, it seems like if I tell someone "Oh, around Christmas," or "Oh, before summer," it only ensures that I will not meet the said deadline. It's rather embarrasing, to say the least. But to help you understand where I am in the publication process, I've put together a bit of a progress meter, which I will post a new version of with each update. Here's the one for this update:
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If any of you are thinking this wasn't much of an update considering how long it's been since the last one, I just want to make it clear how much work it's been trying to get the new shop up and running. If you find long descriptions of the pain I've had to experience in this process boring, you should stop reading now and just check out the other updates. If you like reading about my misery, continue...

(begin long, boring story of pain and woe)

Upon deciding that I needed a new shopping cart system that would ensure a more streamlined ordering process for both the user and myself, I set out to find a PHP cart system that could be run directly from my new dedicated server and give me a fancy storefront that could accept direct PayPal payments. I did not, however, want to pay for this, since there are so many good free things on the Internet these days (hahaha... right). So I started looking for Open Source PHP shopping carts, and immediately happened upon OSCommerce (the OS stands for Open Source, of course), the most popular system and the only real one I could find. It looked a little ugly and un-user-friendly, so I searched for a derivative that would already be set up a little better. The main one everyone seemed to talk about was called Zen Cart, so I downloaded it first.

The download took forever on my cruddy Internet connection and killed it because of HughesNet's completely retarded "Fair Acces Policy", so I couldn't do anything much online for another 24 hours. When I was finally able to operate again, I unzipped the files and began uploading them to my server. I thought this would be a fairly quick process, but it ended up taking NEARLY ALL DAY. Then when I got around to actually installing the program on the server, it said I need some kind of weird PHP extension I did not have installed.

I don't have much experience with PHP beyond what I've had to deal with to get this forum running and keep it updated, so I wasn't sure how to install a new extension. Apparently it involved something called recompiling with the new extension activated? How did I do that? It took me ages to figure it out, and eventually, after hours of searching, it all boiled down to a single command line I had to run in UNIX (my server uses Fedora Core). Wow. Okay, so then I finish installing Zen Cart and check it out.

It turns out it's a piece of crap. The interface is hideous and hard to use, the customization is much more limited than I expected (and complicated), and worst of all, the program simly will NOT accept purchases from customers unless they have created an "account" - an extra bit of trouble that I know (from personal experience) not everyone is going to want to bother with. So after all that work, I decide that it's not worth it even trying to wrestle with Zen Cart anymore, and I uninstall the whole thing (delete the files, delete the database tables, etc.) and start over again from scratch.

I still wanted to use an OScommerce storefront hosted on my own server, however, and I felt certain there must be a better one out there. My next stop was something called Magento, which everyone said was really new, fresh, happenin', and modern. All of that sounded kind of repulsive to me, but after looking at the demo, it certainly looked a lot cleaner and more professional than junky Zen Cart ever had. So it was off to download Magento! I felt that since I knew what I was doing this time, it wouldn't be as much work, although, of course, the download took forever on my cruddy Internet connection and killed it because of HughesNet's completely retarded "Fair Acces Policy", so I couldn't do anything much online for another 24 hours.

Once my Internet had been resurrected, I began uploading the files. There were even more of them than with Zen Cart, so the process was very slow. It took hours... and then it took more hours... and then it was night time, so I let it upload overnight... and then in the morning, it still wasn't done, so I let it upload a while longer... and then it took all day again. HOLY CRAP. In the end, I estimated that it took almost exactly 28 hours for the entire program to upload to my server. That's just plain wrong. But the install process should be easy, right? Wrong. Turns out I need another PHP extension, this one even harder to get than before. Another couple hours of searching all over the web for how to install it, and I'm finally ready to begin my Magento experience.

It turns out it's a piece of crap. Sure, it's a lot prettier and easier to manage than Zen Cart, but it suffers from some of the same problems (very hard to add custom payment methods, for instance, such as my "pay by cash" method), and it's FULL OF BUGS. One bug simply makes it so customizable items added to the catalog never appear in the bloody shop. I was forced to join the Magento support forums and found that they were CHOCK FULL of people with hundreds of bugs, all of them demanding support and complaining about the fact that Magento was basically beta-level software released far too early so that the company could cash in by making users pay for support or "professional installation." I got fed up with all the bullcrap, and guess what? I uninstalled Magento. That's what I get for installing some program that can't even spell "Magneto," I guess.

By this point, I think you can sympathize with my decision to simply give up on OS Commerce programs entirely. In fact, I pretty much decided that I was not going to find anything like I wanted as a free PHP program installed on my own server. So I went back to my starting point (PayPal's list of shopping cart systems that can use PayPal Express Payment) and looked for something else. I happened upon a free, web-based shopping cart "system" called uh... I forget what it was called. I guess that's what happens when I look at hundreds and determine that all are worthless. This one seemed okay - it worked a lot like my current system (RomanCart) in that I had to design all the pages myself and link to the cart using HTML coding. The key difference was that this new site allowed for direct PayPal payments without charging an extra yearly fee like RomanCart did. So I started trying to set it up with some new shopping cart pages on my site. Making all the new pages myself was more work than I had hoped to do, but oh well. It seemed that was the only way I was going to get it working.

It turns out it's a piece of crap. The website was clearly written for extreme newbies with no need for extensive customization. The "add to cart" buttons, instead of being written in HTML like RomanCart's, are simply links to Java applets hosted by THEM, meaning THEY decide what they look like, with no input by me at all. They looked horrible. Not only that, but the system made NO allowance for international orders! Other countries weren't available, nor could shipping options be configured by country! The whole site was basically simplistic and primitive, only good for some newbie wanting to sell T-shirts to locals in their area or something equally pedestrian. So much for that.

So what did I do, in the end? Why, just go add an item to your basket at my shop page, and you'll see. That's right: I went back and paid the yearly fee at RomanCart. I went right back and kept using exactly what I was using in the first place. It's so ironic that it would be funny if I hadn't wasted weeks of my life essentially accomplishing nothing. But then, they say Thomas Edison invented a thousand methods of illumination that didn't work before he came up with the lightbulb, so I guess that's just the way it goes.

I think I'm going to go play a game now. I'm almost done conquering North Africa in Medieval II: Total War. Sounds way more interesting than dealing with this mess.

(end long, boring story of pain and woe)






Wow, good job on the minifigs, both of you. They are very well done.

I like how the shop is set up now, and I understand how much easier it is now. My only dislike about it is the fact that you can't buy some of the ones that you used to have a choice about in your own color scheme. That was a good thing you allowed us to do, and I will miss that privilege....

Oh, I like how all of them are blown up a tad, so that you can see the details in them. Expect an order from me soon, Scorp. Good luck with your game, and I can't wait for Warrior Born.

-Drake
That's flippin sweet, Scorpy! I like the Republic commando figures, despite the fat that I *usually* loath clone troopers. I'll probably order a few, which leads me to the shop part of your blog. That's awesome! You can expect an order from your shop, soon. My brothers, and I, will probably order quite a few decals, around this time.

I like that progress meter you put up. It's pretty swell. Now at least we all get to know what you're up to. I hope you update it sometimes, though. tongue.gif

Well, I guess that's all I can say about it, right now. I read the entire thing, but that's all I feel like replying to. I've already seen Ryan's friggin awesome figs, and so that's it... so, uh. Yeah. "When you gotta go, you gotta go..." tongue.gif

EDIT: Oh, yah... I almost forgot (read as: 'I forgot'), but I think that you should make a section in the decals shop, for Wylfgard (at least when more decals come out), instead of just putting them in whatever section that they're in. I'm to lazy to see. wink.gif
QUOTE (Drake Dakari @ Jun 11 2008, 02:37 PM)
My only dislike about it is the fact that you can't buy some of the ones that you used to have a choice about in your own color scheme. That was a good thing you allowed us to do, and I will miss that privilege....

The only color options I removed were the green/darkgreen/sandgreen options for the Halo marines. Everything else is still there. But you can request color changes on any of the decals, as it says here on the FAQ page. All you have to do is include your request in the Comments of your order and I'll be happy to change any of the colors on any of the decals, free of charge. wink.gif

QUOTE (Lightning Bolt)
I think that you should make a section in the decals shop, for Wylfgard

I'll do that when there are more decals available, by either Maegan or me. Right now there aren't really enough decals to warrant its own section, so they can be found under "High Fantasy."

- Scorp
QUOTE (Saber-Scorpion @ Jun 11 2008, 11:47 AM)
I'll do that when there are more decals available, by either Maegan or me. Right now there aren't really enough decals to warrant its own section, so they can be found under "High Fantasy."

Alright. That's all I was saying. Just whenever there are more decals out. Sounds cool, though. I can't wait for either of you to get some more out. wink.gif
QUOTE (Saber-Scorpion @ Jun 11 2008, 02:47 PM)
QUOTE (Drake Dakari @ Jun 11 2008, 02:37 PM)
My only dislike about it is the fact that you can't buy some of the ones that you used to have a choice about in your own color scheme. That was a good thing you allowed us to do, and I will miss that privilege....

The only color options I removed were the green/darkgreen/sandgreen options for the Halo marines. Everything else is still there. But you can request color changes on any of the decals, as it says here on the FAQ page. All you have to do is include your request in the Comments of your order and I'll be happy to change any of the colors on any of the decals, free of charge. wink.gif
- Scorp


Sorry, forgot about the Spartan's, but I was mainly talking about the Elites. I don't see where you can change their color. Ah well, sorry.

-Drake
Oo! The new shop layout looks awesome, and I appreciate the Applegeeks-ish status bar for Warrior Born. One comment/question though: Why take out the option to buy single decals for NR (at least, it's the only section I checked)?
Woah the new shopping system looks sweet!
Awesome. I like the Warrior Born update thingie. The shop looks absolutely awesome! I've been wanting some decals, so I really must order them soon. The new minifigs are cool, too, though I never read the books or played the game.
Sorry you're busy. I didn't actually read the whole long, boring story of pain and woe, but I will soon, don't worry. wink.gif
Damn, you've been working hard! But I'm really impressed. THe shop's a lot easier to find things in now, and the Republic Commando figs look simply awesome. Only fault I can find with them is the one you already listed about the transblue heads. Great work, and I can't wait for Warrior Born! And G4M3, for that matter....
YAHOOOO!! Republic Commando! I love this game and it's possibly the best FPS I've ever played. I would've made these myself but unfortunately I don't have the parts.

two things you could've made better:

1) giving Scorch a weapon that looks more like a Grenade launcher because that's his favourite weapon.

2) the casings for the launcher that are strapped too his right leg.

But in anycase Good Excellent job on them. especially Sev.
QUOTE (Drake)
Sorry, forgot about the Spartan's, but I was mainly talking about the Elites. I don't see where you can change their color. Ah well, sorry.

Ack! I know I re-added those... I must have forgotten to re-upload the file. I'll do that now. Thanks for pointing it out.

QUOTE (Ter Loki)
Why take out the option to buy single decals for NR (at least, it's the only section I checked)?

I took out individual decals for just about every section, except for certain "army builder" type decals. As I said in the post, I did this to save time, because picking out each individual decal when putting the orders together was becoming way too time consuming. I may make more decals available as individual items again later though, if there's enough demand, or if I notice a significant drop in sales as a result of the change.

QUOTE (Mr. Monk)
Sorry you're busy. I didn't actually read the whole long, boring story of pain and woe, but I will soon, don't worry.

Ah, there's no need. That's just me getting some frustration off my chest. tongue.gif

QUOTE (skulduggery)
2) the casings for the launcher that are strapped too his right leg.

Glad you liked the figs! I don't recall seeing anything strapped to Scorch's leg in the pics I saw (maybe it was on his upper leg, so I decided to leave it off). I did put something strapped to the red-splattered-guy's leg though... whatever his name is (Sev, I think?). Anyway...
Oh, by the way, Scorp. The shop is kinda confusing me. I was trying to figure it out, by going around, and I tried to see if the new marines button worked (it hadn't, for me, before). Anyway, I noticed that when I was looking at the cart, that it said it would be six dollars, and the quantity was '1'. If I were to order them, would I have to mention in the 'comments' place that I would want only one?
Argh! More glitches. It looks like I left the "2" in the link instead of "3," so you were actually adding the Series 2 Marine Army Builder to your cart instead of Series 3. I'll go fix it right now. Let me know if you find any other glitches. I try to screen for them, but sometimes little things like that slip past me...
QUOTE (Skulduggery @ Jun 12 2008, 04:27 PM)
1) giving Scorch a weapon that looks more like a Grenade launcher because that's his favourite weapon.

2) the casings for the launcher that are strapped too his right leg.


QUOTE (Saber-Scorpion @ Jun 13 2008, 06:33 AM)
Glad you liked the figs! I don't recall seeing anything strapped to Scorch's leg in the pics I saw (maybe it was on his upper leg, so I decided to leave it off). I did put something strapped to the red-splattered-guy's leg though... whatever his name is (Sev, I think?). Anyway...


yeah Sev has some grenades strapped there and the rounds are on Scorch's upper leg.

two more things:

1) individual names came from there training sergents. Jango didn't train every single one of them. He had some help.

2) I've found that wikipedia is hardly good when it comes too Star Wars try wookieepedia
Howdy there, Saber-Scorpion! My brother is a fan of your site, and he had me read this blog entry. I'm a web developer and a long-time GNU/Linux user, so I thought I'd offer some advice.
Since you have a dedicated server running Fedora, there is no need to download the files to your computer, and then upload them to the server. You can download directly to the server using the "wget" command like so:

wget http://www.domain.com/file.tar.gz

Assuming the file is tarballed and gzipped, indicated by the .tar.gz suffix, you can untar it with the following command:

tar xvfz file.tar.gz

You now have the folder you need ready-to-go on the server, with no long upload/download times. All this will have to be done via SSH, which I assume you have since you installed the missing PHP extensions. If I can help in any way, or you have any questions, I'd be glad to assist; feel free to email me.
QUOTE (Saber-Scorpion @ Jun 12 2008, 04:02 PM)
Argh! More glitches. It looks like I left the "2" in the link instead of "3," so you were actually adding the Series 2 Marine Army Builder to your cart instead of Series 3. I'll go fix it right now. Let me know if you find any other glitches. I try to screen for them, but sometimes little things like that slip past me...

Alright, cool.

"It's a glitch in the matrix..." tongue.gif
Weird... I thought you would have mentioned something about how even the cover of MGS4 was horrible. tongue.gif (Assuming you bought it)

Out of curiosity, did you pick it up yet?
QUOTE (Skulduggery)
1) individual names came from there training sergents. Jango didn't train every single one of them. He had some help.

2) I've found that wikipedia is hardly good when it comes too Star Wars try wookieepedia

1) Really? I've never heard about that. I thought Jango trained the first clones, then they trained the other clones, and on and on from there. Who were the other trainers? More lost Mandalorians, or just some random dudes...? Anyway, it still doesn't really explain how they have different personalities, much less voices.

2) Yeah, I used Wookieepedia a bit, but I can't stay there long because the extra "e" on Wookiee just irks me too badly. tongue.gif

QUOTE (Sha'Bren)
Howdy there, Saber-Scorpion! My brother is a fan of your site, and he had me read this blog entry. I'm a web developer and a long-time GNU/Linux user, so I thought I'd offer some advice.

Haha, yeah, I did figure that out later, when I was trying to install one of the new PHP extensions. When I discovered it, I almost died from bashing my own head onto my desk in frustration. tongue.gif Thanks for the help anyway though. I'll definitely try asking you if I run into any more trouble. Thanks for the offer. wink.gif

QUOTE (Mouse)
Weird... I thought you would have mentioned something about how even the cover of MGS4 was horrible. (Assuming you bought it)

Out of curiosity, did you pick it up yet?

Heh. Considering how awful all the trailers for MGS4 have been, I would probably have never even purchased the game... but Ryan pre-ordered it to complete his collection. tongue.gif It hasn't arrived yet (blasted shipping...), but I'll let you know how it was when I'm done watching him play it, much like with MGS3. laugh.gif
QUOTE (Saber-Scorpion @ Jun 13 2008, 07:02 PM)
Heh. Considering how awful all the trailers for MGS4 have been, I would probably have never even purchased the game... but Ryan pre-ordered it to complete his collection. tongue.gif It hasn't arrived yet (blasted shipping...), but I'll let you know how it was when I'm done watching him play it, much like with MGS3. laugh.gif

Ye unfaithful in Konami's excellence shall burn! tongue.gif Nah, just kidding, I haven't played it yet (DARN PS3s!)

Well, the updates seem more streamlined to me, and slightly easier to navigate, but overall, I don't think it was worth 4000 hours of your life that could have been spent conquering North Africa or giving me your 360 (I don't even own that...scary. My brother owns it, so I'm jealous...)

Anyway, lovin the SW: RC figs, I like how you painted the helmets with accuracy and no messyness. The game itself is fun, if you can get past the pseudo (READ: though barely even pseudo) Warhammer armor. Plus, doesn't it make you feel better to kill the annoying Geonosians and blast some droids? (though the droids don't bother me, cept' for SBDs.)

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