Wednesday, October 30, 2013

server update! - custom cursor bug fix

I got a few reports that the "Custom Cursor" setting was broken. This has been fixed, and the server was updated this morning with the change. Please let me know if you have any more issues with this.

In a little more detail: the mouse pointer on your screen usually looks like a white arrow. The "Custom Cursor" is an ornate version of that mouse pointer. See the screenshot below for a look:

The "Custom Cursor" is shown inside and to the right of the green circled area.

Sometimes, this feature can cause performance problems. If you have any trouble with it, you can turn it off and switch back to using the white-arrow mouse pointer. You do this by clicking on your user name (or Guest #) in the upper right corner, which opens your profile settings. Just uncheck "Custom Cursor" to turn it off.

The related bug caused the "Custom Cursor" to turn back on unintentionally. So if you were having this problem, you shouldn't see it happen anymore.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

server update! - more sounds

I had a couple of requests from people that they'd like an audible alert if someone arrives at the table where they're seated. In response to this, I've added a "shop bell" sound when someone arrives, and a "door shutting" sound when someone leaves.

I don't plan on adding any more sounds, since I don't want the site to get too noisy. Remember, if you don't like the sounds, there's an option to turn them off in your user profile area (click on your user name up in the top right corner to see this).

Sunday, October 27, 2013

server update - gong! and ad space

This morning, World of Card Games was down briefly as I applied a couple of updates.

I've added the sound of a "gong" when the game starts. This will help to alert people who are multi-tasking while they're waiting for a game to start. I realize that some people don't have sound for their computers... I'm not sure what to do to alert this group!

You can turn off the "gong" sound by visiting your profile (click on your user name at the upper right corner) and unchecking the "Play Sounds" box.

I've had requests from a couple of players to add some sound when a person sits at their table, before the game starts. I'm planning on doing this in the near future as well.

You will also notice that the site has some blank space at the right. I've been delaying putting an ad on the site, but I knew I'd have to do this sooner or later, and now is the time. I'll be experimenting with this over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

server update this morning

There was an outage at the site for about 5 minutes this morning while the server was being updated with a small bug fix. My apologies for the interruption!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

server updated - resync, new avatars, robot gameplay in Euchre

This morning, I applied some updates to the server. These are the changes:

1. Resync

The first change gives players some feedback when a "resync" occurs. What's a resync? It has to do with the hourglass that you may see if you take too long to play a card.

When playing with other people at a real table, if you make people wait too long, someone will give you a nudge or make a comment. But on the internet, there's no way for other players to do this. For a game site with multiple players interacting, there has to be some way to deal with this.

To impose a level of fairness on everyone at the table, there's a timeout period. If you take too long to play, the hourglass shows up. When the hourglass runs down, the server picks a card for you to play, and sends a message to your computer to play it.

Since internet connections are sometimes slow, it may happen that you will play a card while the server is sending a message for you to play the card that it picked for you! In this case, the server has to overrule your picked card. It maintains the integrity of the table for all players; otherwise, there would be chaos. So if the server sees that it overruled you, it sends a "resync" message to your browser - telling it to redraw the cards on the table so that they correctly display the state of the game as it is managed by the server.

Up until now, there was no way for a player to know when their picked card had been overruled by the server. They might see some cards jumping around, and be confused about what happened. Now, you will see a reddish-pink message in the lower right corner to let you know what happened. This is shown in the screenshot below:

The message says "Your view of the table is out of sync with the server and is being reset." That's shorthand for the detailed explanation given above!

2. Improved robot gameplay in Euchre

I've had some complaints that robots are not leading with the right bower in Euchre. This is generally considered to be a good strategy, and I've modified the robot code so that they now do this.

I'll be working on more improvements to robot gameplay in Euchre and other games over the upcoming weeks.

3. New avatars!

There are nine new avatars available!  Since Halloween will soon be upon us, I've added five Jack O' Lanterns for players who want to celebrate the day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

bug fix - memory leak

This morning, I updated World of Card Games with a change that many people won't notice. But others may see a big difference!

The site had a bug - it consumed computer resources, but did not release them when it was done with them. In technical terms, it had a "memory leak." It was only noticeable on certain computer systems. Over the last week, I was able to isolate the problem and solve it. My tests indicate that it's now gone.

I've had reports from some players who say that the site "freezes" when they're playing - it sounds very frustrating. I suspect that their problem was caused by this memory leak. I hope this new change fixes it!

If you have more problems with "freezing" - please let me know.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

new feature - kick player

Today the site was updated with a new feature which allows players to kick another player out of the game.

Why is this needed? Occasionally, players have been frustrated by another player for various reasons: mainly because they're being rude or abusive, or at times because they appear to have left the game (and the computer is playing for them).

In these cases, it would be pleasant to have a way to boot such an antisocial player from the game, and hope that someone better joins the table.

That's what the "kick player" feature is about. If a majority of players vote to kick a player off the table, that player gets ejected! So if there are two human players at a table, a single vote will cause the player to be kicked. If there are three or four players, it takes two votes.

Voting to kick a player has a side effect. The player that you voted to kick is added to your list of "disliked players." The site will never seat you with these players again. If you wish to "undo" the effect of kicking a player, it's simple. Click on your user name in the upper right corner, and scroll down to the "Manage Dislikes" area. There, you'll see a list of all the players that you've kicked. Just click the "(remove)" link next to the player's name, and the system will forget that you ever disliked this player, so you may be seated with them in the future.

kick player feature

The screenshot above shows how it works. Guest #81 at the bottom hovered the cursor over the cogwheel graphic next to Guest #2. This causes a tool tip to be displayed which says "kick player?" Next, Guest #81 clicked on the cogwheel, causing a button to appear in the lower left corner, just above the chat button, labeled with "Kick Guest #2". When this button is clicked, it is registered as a vote to kick the player from the game. In a two-player game, the player is immediately ejected.

Again, if you kicked someone by mistake, and want to undo this action, go to the "Manage Dislikes" area of your profile and click the "(remove)" link. See the screenshot below:

manage dislikes

To get to this area, click on your user name, which opens your settings panel. Below that you will see the "Manage Dislikes" area, with a list of players that you've voted to kick. Any players you want to "forgive" can be removed from the list here. You may have to use a scrollbar to view your "Manage Dislikes" area, depending on how many options show up in the profile area.

Let me know how you feel about this new feature in the comments. I hope it helps in the rare cases when it's necessary.